Read about the life and work of the Attingham Wardens

Attingham Park is a National Trust property comprising of an 18th Century mansion set in a Repton landscape; the Park and wider Estate includes a deer park, walled garden, several miles of the rivers Severn and Tern, extensive farmland and woodlands.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Heavy challenges

Regular visitors will probably have noticed the dead oak tree along the front drive just after the cattle grid that fell down earlier this year. We needed to wait for the ground to dry out on the park before we attempted to move it away from the road and last week we faced the challenge of how to move the massive trunk - oak is heavy!
Talking through the options and deciding where to start
The front park is within the SSSI (site of special scientific interest)  that we have for the deadwood invertebrates that live in and around our veteran trees so the fallen tree needed to stay within the area but away from the road. Ideally we would have kept the tree in one piece but despite hiring the largest manitou that we could, we could not get it to budge. Our other option was to borrow a powerful winch and pull the tree across the ground but this would have dug deep into the earth and left a scar on the park. We agreed that the trunk would have to be cut, moved in pieces and then put back together as closely as possible in its new resting place so that it could be left to decay and provide vital habitat for the many beetles and other beasties that thrive here.

Once we had made the cuts we managed to lift each piece carefully with the manitou and carry them to the other side of the park. Even in pieces the machine was working hard - we estimate that the whole trunk must have weighed between 10 and 12 tonnes!

It's all about balance!
This week we also had the challenge of welcoming 40 Barclays Bank employees who were volunteering with us for the day. The group worked hard and completed every task that we had prepared - removing a line of hurdle fencing, painting the fence around Gardeners Cottage, raking the cut grass around the Mile Walk, washing the Bee House and white benches on the Bee Lawn and collecting bluebell seeds to be scattered around some of our woods where the bluebells are scarce. Fantastic!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

A quick update from the Deer Park

The deer park has its newest arrivals as throughout June the fallow fawns were born. You may have spotted some of the fawns already as they soon learn to run and keep up with their mothers. The wardens spotted a few when they were very young and laying up in the long grass and nettles so we took a few pictures to share with you before leaving the area quietly - we hope you enjoy them!

I only just spotted this one as it lay completely still as I passed...
This little one was very well hidden - we used a zoom lens to get so close! (pic by Ben Hunt)
My favourite picture - utterly adorable! Again, taken with a zoom lens from a distance (pic by Ben Hunt)
In the recent heatwave the deer have mostly been found resting up in the shade beneath the horse chestnut trees along the WWII path. The bucks are in full velvet and their antlers are growing fast - you will notice how the common, darker coloured bucks have a brown tinged velvet while the menil (pale with bright white spots) have white velvet. It's a wonderful time of year to watch these elegant creatures as they soak up the sunshine so try to fit a walk in next time you visit!