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, 27 October 2012

New walk!

James and Andrew digging in a new
path from the new bridges...
The wardens have been working all hours this week to get a new walk ready for this weekend. The walk takes you through the deer park into a totally new area of the park where previously the public have never been able to go. As well as showing you the park from a new visual perspective the walk also leads you through some of the history of the estate by incorporating the WWII path that we cleared last year and the site of the war time infirmary. The path is clearly marked out with blue-topped posts, and is approximately 1.75 miles long from the stables and back. As you enter the deer park you will see the posts leading you either straight on or immediately right- the choice is yours! As always in the deer park it is vital that dogs are kept on leads and under close control as the deer are easily stressed by animals chasing them, but Max has been on the new walk and thoroughly approves so I hope all of you dog walkers will enjoy it soon. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all of our volunteers and trainees who have worked so hard on getting this walk ready - all that gate hanging, digging, raking, bridge-building, tree cutting, fencing, stone-shoveling and sweeping is very much appreciated!

The working holiday team getting stuck in
The week before last also kept me bust with a working holiday group. We were coppicing for hazel stakes and binders along Wenlock Edge of day one, then hedgelaying for the rest of the week at Brompton on the south side of the Estate. In just a few days, the team managed to lay and bind 50 meters of hedge - pretty impressive for a group of beginners! They received a day of training from expert hedgelayer Karl Liebscher to get them going, and then battled wind and rain to get the job done. Good work!

All this wet weather has created the perfect conditions for fungi around the park so you may want to bring your camera as you walk around. There is fly agaric near the the start of the woodland walk in the north end of the park (the classic red mushroom with white spots used in so many cartoons - but poisonous so please do not touch!). There are other fungi cropping up all over the place in grassland and on dead wood. I took this picture along the new walk yesterday:

Enjoy the new walk, let me know what you think!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I need to find my wellingtons!

Rain rain rain... Sometimes in this job you have to just grit your teeth and keep going and remind yourself that come the warm sunny days, everyone else is jealous of your job! Last week saw some pretty incredible rain and we used the opportunity to keep under cover and cut some logs. Well, that was the theory - in practice several of the volunteers managed to stay dry-ish splitting logs in the barn while the rest of us stood outside chainsawing rounds of timber and using the processor. I discovered that my chainsaw boots are not water resistant in any way and that cups of coffee from the kelly kettle are a lifesaver in such conditions!
The River Tern in the foreground... and the newly flooded meadow
beyond being enjoyed by some swans
There is normally a lot more bridge on show!

Last week also saw us finishing a new fence around the Greedy Pig, delivering several loads of logs, preparing Cronkhill for opening with a bit of strimming, taking down the tents and marquees from Sunnycroft and setting up for our Harvest Fair in the Walled Garden. We had a tree down across one of the paths on the Woodland Walk - an old rotten oak that was well back from the path but tall enough to reach it with its upper branches. Colin and I cleared it, along with a few other smaller trees in the area to keep it safe and tidy.

More rain on the way?
We also have a new member of the team to introduce - Craig is joining the wardens for a 12 month traineeship and started last week. He is a little camera shy (but I'm sure I'll get him snapped some time) but made a great discovery while out in the woods - he found this egg, nearly completely buried in the dirt, in perfect condition! A bit of research leads me to believe it is a swan egg - but how did it come to be buried near the Mile Walk?! Anyway, a mystery to ponder - welcome Craig!

I'm lucky to be on holiday for the next two weeks but took Max for a walk around Attingham early one morning so here are a few early autumn photos. See you back at work!