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 21 January 2016

A chilly start to the year

Well, it's about time for an update!

Frosty mornings and heavy rain have made it a challenging start to the year as the teams continue with hedgelaying and replanting a stretch of hedge at Duncote Farm. Wrapped up against the elements we have cut the old, brittle and gappy hawthorn hedge back to base to encourage it to reshoot and planted up the gaps with a mixture of hawthorn, holly and hazel. The stretch of hedge that we have been laying for two months now has just a few meters to go until we reach our target length for the year and this week we collected some extra hazel stakes and binders from Wenlock Edge to help us finish the job.

Chilly mornings as we get the kettle on in time for the volunteers to arrive!

I have been using the wildlife camera on the Estate to see what we can spot and was pleased to get plenty of footage of badgers and a fox as well as the usual rabbits. It's a wonderful chance to get a peek at these secretive creatures. I'm still trying to capture some images of the otters on our land but no luck yet - though many visitors spot them from our paths near the Tern and on New Years Day a visitor took some incredible pictures of an otter near the stone bridge that ended up in the local news!

Tree safety inspections have also continued over the last few weeks. At this time of year it is easy to spot areas of decay or damage in the crown and upper stem of the tree and to investigate as necessary. There will be some work with tree surgeons over the next few weeks on some ash and sycamores around the top of the Mile Walk and Deer Park Walk - mostly reduction of limbs that are decayed and hanging over the path and a couple of reductions down to 'monoliths' where the crown is completely removed but the trunk of the tree is left standing. These decisions are not made lightly but where the tree gives us the signals of weakening structure (decay, fungi, excessive movement, hollowness, dieback in the crown) we need to take action where there is risk of harm if the tree fails. By leaving a monolith we create a new habitat - as the remainder of the tree dies and slowly decays you will see all kinds of holes appear in it from insects and birds as they burrow and feed. Without the strain of branches and the sail effect of leaves and branches in the wind, the remaining trunk will stand for many years and often decades with a far reduced risk of falling over.
Woodpecker holes