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.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Merry Christmas and introducing your new Rangers!

Finally we have reached that wonderful time of year - after months of darkening evenings and murky mornings, the Winter Solstice arrived and now we can look forward to brighter times!
The morning of the Winter Solstice as seen from our Woodshed
Oh, and it's Christmas! The Elves have been busy feeding the deer up in case Father Christmas should need a fallow stand-in tomorrow night - you can see them today and tomorrow at 2pm feeding from their bright red sleigh...
Unfortunately the weather continues to bring us rain and winter rather than a nice frosty or snowy holiday, so you might want to wear your new wellies or walking boots when you come for a walk to work off those mince pies next week. The newly surfaced Woodland Walk, however, is dry and smooth so that's definitely one to enjoy. We celebrated its opening by testing out the new Trampers:

We spent a day at Sunnycroft last week to help clear up after a large walnut tree fell over during a storm. It was quite a job to saw up but with a crew of Sunnycroft and Attingham volunteers the brash was soon cleared and burned while we cut the remaining tree into logs and lengths which will be dried and planked up for later use. Walnut is a beautiful wood, often used in wood turning, furniture making and for gun stocks. 


Joy and Colin modelling the new
Ranger uniform
And now, an update from the wardens - we are no longer wardens! Last week we made the official transition to the title of Rangers, in keeping with the rest of the National Trust. We will still be doing the same work but we have some snazzy (and bright) new uniforms (to be kept for best for now, so expect to see us in our greens for a while yet!) and some alterations to our role profiles. A trying-on session was immediately needed - introducing the Ranger and Area Ranger!

This week we have kept busy despite most of our volunteers having a break for the holiday; deer feeding, packaging venison, looking for lost dogs, dealing with found dogs, checking trees after the wind, putting up emergency fencing after a car accident, keeping the park supplied with logs to keep everyone warm and cosy, and deep cleaning the butchery - and it's not the end of the week yet...

Remember that the Park is closed on Christmas Day so we will see you again from Boxing Day. On behalf of all of the Ranger team, Merry Christmas!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Stormy Weather

The weather is keeping us on our toes! The last few weeks have flown by as we try to keep on top of all our usual jobs as well as dealing with the high winds and flooding.

Storm Barney took it's toll
 I was on call when Storm Barney hit and had a call at 11.30pm to check on a tree that had gone down next to the road between Berwick Wharf and Upton Magna. After making sure it was safe for the night there were a few restless hours of sleep listening to the wind howl before getting up early to start the post-storm checks. Before we open to the public everywhere has to be checked for fallen or dangerous trees - roads, drives, paths, gardens - so by starting at daybreak we could make sure that the front and back drive, car park, Mile Walk and gardens were safe for 9am opening.

We had some tree casualties - one large ash over the Deer Park fence, a huge old beech near the Berwick Memorial (we knew this one's days were limited and altered a path to avoid it years ago) and multiple branches around the walks and wider estate. Several walks were temporarily closed down while Duncan, Matt and I got the chainsaws out and made everything safe and Colin came in on his day off to deal with the hanging branches at Berwick Wharf and organise a tree surgeon to come in. Such is the life of an NT warden!
This beech, already weakened by internal decay, could not hold on against the 60+mph gusts
Now we are keeping a close eye on water levels - at present the causeway between the Ice House and Deer Park is still dry but we are checking the rising and falling water to make sure the path is safe. Remember a few years ago when the flood water washed away part of the path? The flooding does make for some spectacular views but do take care if you are driving - I've seen a few cars drifting across the road as they take in the sights! The permissive path from the Park up to Upton Forge is currently underwater, as is the Tern Bridge walk.

The Woodland Walk is nearly ready to be reopened and next Tuesday ay 10am we will be having a little opening ceremony at the start of the walk by the wooden peacock so come along to be one of the first to try out the wider, smoother, drier walk.

We are feeding the deer at 2pm at weekends so come along to see the herd enjoy a fodder beet or two!