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.

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

So much for my dreams of a frosty Christmas! The rain continues and is starting to become a problem. Over the weekend we had to close the bridge to the Deer Park as the river is now so high that it is flowing across the path and washing away the stone surface. I've just been out to check on it and it's still impassable, so if you are coming in for a pre-Xmas walk then you will need to take the longer route via the suspension bridge. There are several trees and branches stuck in the weir as they have been washed down from upstream. The overflow car park is also saturated - we expect to be quite busy on Boxing Day so will have to park people on the front field bank as we so at Frost Fair. If you can, please come in as few vehicles as possible! You will also need to bring your wellies or good walking boots - the Mile Walk is ok but most of the rest of the paths have some very wet or muddy patches.
This path will need repair as soon as the water recedes...
It's not all bad news though - our parkland gardener Lisa spotted the first snowdrops last week. They are far from being in flower yet but we love our snowdrops and will be watching and updating their progress.

The first snowdrops brave the weather

Merry Christmas from the Attingham Park wardens! 

Sunday 16 December 2012

Elves and deer...

If you come along to see the deer being fed between now and Christmas, you may spot some familiar-faced elves...

Thanks for the pictures Martin!

Thursday 13 December 2012

Frost and ice

The thermals are most definitely on! It's crisp and beautiful out there, and walking around the park hearing the crunch of your footsteps and seeing your breath fog the air is one of the reasons I love this job. The wardens have been keeping busy as usual; the last week has seen us hedge laying, shifting timber, building a prototype shelter for approval from our curators, delivering logs, taking a huge Christmas tree to St Chads in Shrewsbury, taking steps to protect the ground on the approach drive and heeling in 10,000 hedge plants ready for planting. And it's only Thursday. Phew!

The hedge plants are made up of hawthorn, blackthorn, holly, field maple, hazel and guelder rose, and will be used to fill gaps in existing hedges as well as new plantings. Our lovely volunteers have braved the cold and dug out trenches for the whips to rest in, then we back fill and loosely pack the earth down to protect the roots from the frost. Once it warms up a little we can get cracking with the planting out again.
Buffy, Bob, Milly and Martin - and 10,000 young hedge plants
Dog walkers will be pleased to hear that the meadow in the middle of the Mile Walk is now open again, and well-behaved dogs are allowed off the lead inside. Please make sure that any mess is cleared up though - the tenant farmer that allows us use of the meadow in the winter months has his cattle on there the rest of the year and diseases can be spread to them via dog waste. And when its icy or wet, take care around the pond! The boardwalk can become slippery. Max likes to scramble across it but I prefer to take the circular route around. Speaking of Max, I took him up to Carding Mill Valley last weekend for his first walk in the Shropshire Hills - fantastic! It was bright and sunny that morning and we followed the 5 mile pink route up the valley to Pole Bank and down Townbrook Hollow. Highly recommended, but remember your hat and gloves.
If you come and see the deer being fed at Attingham this weekend or during the week before Christmas, you might spot a few new characters - we have elves feeding them from our festive sleigh! Photos to follow soon. Stay warm!

Sunday 2 December 2012

Remember those willows we pollarded down by the river near the Deer Park a few weeks ago? Look at them now!
The rain caused a lot of flooding across the estate and was really starting to worry us as Frost Fair approached - last year we had just under 12,000 visitors and had to park thousands of cars on the grass of the side and back fields near the stable block. This year we needed to prepare for the same but with all the wet ground we needed to try something new - so we hired out some flexible matting to make roadways and tried out a new system of parking on the field in front of the mansion. It worked! The final number of visitors hasn't been revealed yet but imagine it to be nearly the same as last year. Parking so many vehicles is a massive job and we had teams of staff and volunteers for the last three days running the car parks like a military operation. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers - your hard work is greatly appreciated and we simply could not have done it without you.
Here are some pics showing the warden's view of Frost Fair 2012!
The morning briefing and donning of the high vis and radio checks...

The endless sea of cars!

Assessing the ground after a day of parking and moving the lines...

Dawn, and we're out there already!


Craig guides the visitors along...

4.30pm on day 3 - tired and ready to go home!!