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.

Thursday 30 January 2014

The rivers are rising...

More wet weather on already saturated ground means more flooding across the Park and Estate. The water rose enough today to start trickling over the causeway, despite us raising the level by four inches after the devastation caused by last years floods. We are monitoring the water level closely and we will see how it looks in the morning before deciding whether or not to close access to the deer park. If you are out with children or dogs on long leads then please be particularly careful - the river banks are completely underwater so what looks like a few inches of paddling water can drop very suddenly.

Monday 27 January 2014

Working with wood

Another busy month for the wardens! Ben and Craig have been busy developing a new site for green woodwork as part of Ben's University project, designing shelters and building pole lathes and shave horses; the site will be used by staff and volunteers to learn and practice various crafts and also to make charcoal. Watch this space!
Meanwhile, Henry has been working with sports development officer Lucy to design and build a new natural play area for children - again, stay tuned for updates!

Our Wednesday hedgelaying crew have been busy on a new hedge at Duncote Farm having finished their first one, braving the wind and rain to rescue the hedge and renew it with new growth. There are some large gaps in this one and some thin areas, so we will lay it as best we can and replant to thicken the vegetation. This is part of a long-term plan for the hedges of the Estate, bringing them back into good condition with regular cutting and laying.

Meanwhile, another group has been working with me to restore an area of hazel coppice. As you can see in the pictures, it's been a long time since these stools were last coppiced - we counted 25-35 growth rings in the larger stems. We cut the hazel down, angling the stumps outwards, to encourage new shoots that can be coppiced again in 7-10 years time for stakes, binders and material for green woodworking. We managed to cut many stakes and binders out of the old stools as they have put out new shoots, and the larger material will be used for firewood, charcoal and probably a chair leg or two once the pole lathes are set up! The stumps are then covered with brash to give them a bit of protection from rabbits and deer that would nibble off the new shoots as soon as they appear.

Monday 13 January 2014

Goodbye Jess!

Hello, I hope a Merry Christmas was had by all and Happy 2014 from me!
Unfortunately this will be my last newsletter piece for Attingham as I’m moving to another position with the National Trust as a Ranger at Cliveden Estate in Buckinghamshire.
I’d like to thank everyone for their support and advice through my time training and working here; Attingham is a fantastic property, full of dedicated people, passionate about conserving the diverse history and nature here and it’s been a pleasure being part of that team.

I’ve had some fantastic experiences here; discovering the varied wildlife and what lurks in the Attingham ponds; building jetties to launch canoe trips and creating new walks; learning skills like hedgelaying and coppicing; and planting hundreds of trees and parking lots of cars. But the highlights have always been our conservation work, the teams here and keeping our Warden volunteers busy!

The NT Academy Ranger training programme has also come to its end for my year group and we will be graduating this month; the location being none other than Attingham! So I’m not disappearing for too long. This training has been the reason I’ve been able to get my new job so I’m very thankful for the chance to take part in it and meet like-minded folks from around the country.

I wish everyone at Attingham all the best for the future and thank you again for being a great team to work with.