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, 16 November 2013

Tree trimming

Sorry, it's been a while since I last updated. I've been enjoying a week of leave and wandering the woods through the autumn colours. In the weeks before we were kept very busy indeed - half term saw a record turn out of visitors as the sun came out and Trusty Tuesday's pumpkin carving was a sellout - twice! The ground was pretty waterloged from all the wet weather so the wardens were busy trying to get people safely parked on the back field to prevent them getting stuck.

The week after half term we spent a lot of time around the public walks with a hired cherry picker and Seamus, our tree surgeon, cutting out dead wood from high up in the trees as part of our tree safety system. Several of us have been trained in using a cherry picker and this was a good chance to practice our skills as we manoeuvred up, over and around to reach the branches that needed trimming. Jess wrote the following on this job:

The work we’re carrying out from up high is the removal of deadwood and dangerous branches from trees which are over footpaths, roads and other areas in public use. The work we’re doing is very important tree safety management and part of our yearly tree inspection programme; whilst carrying out any remedial work we also take the opportunity to inspect the general health of all the trees in public areas.

Some of the work carried out is proactive and will help the tree live longer and survive heavy winds and storms. Extended limbs can be shortened to minimise weight stresses on the branch junction and reduce the chance of the limb snapping. A crown reduction means shortening several limbs so the tree – usually an older one - can focus its energy on maintaining healthy branches; this prolongs its life and habitat value.

Using the cherry picker is enabling to easily reach branches from a stable platform and is a much faster method of clearing any hazards. Anything that can’t be reached with the cherry picker will be removed by climbing the trunk and branches. Any timber removed from trees will be cut up and used for firewood in the Walled Garden Bothy or Visitor Reception and tea rooms.

As you can see from the following pictures, it's a great view from 70 feet up!
Not quite fully extended, but high enough!

The Mile Walk (left), river Tern and the Deer Park (far right)

The wardens were also instrumental in the setting up of Mad Jacks 5, the 5 mile race that is organised each year at the start of November. The route takes you through the pond in the Mile Walk so we had to check the posts and replace the rope so that the brave runners could grab on to something as they stagger through the mud. As we were setting up I noticed some activity down on the water's edge and found three pairs of Common Darter dragonflies mating and ovipositing - they are one of the last dragonflies on the wing and are seen well in to November, but to be laying eggs at this time of year is something strange to observe!