Friday, 3 April 2015

So what's been going on for the last few months?

It’s been all systems go with lots of conservation and maintenance work being carried out across the park. So where to start…

With the help of volunteers we have planted 48 new trees across the park. Species planted include oak, beech and small-leaved lime. Once established, these trees will create new habitats and niches for native wildlife and will hopefully be enjoyed by many future generations to come.  

Planted 'whips' require guards to protect them from grazing damage 
in the early stages of their development.
Ongoing HLS works have also seen over 2km of top wiring installed along the boundary wall on the moor, stretching from Bowstones all the way down to middle moor wall. This will help keep the red deer safe within the park for the next 15-20 years. 

Rangers Craig and Gary have dug three scrapes in the red deer sanctuary. The scrapes are shallow depressions in the ground which will seasonally hold water and support the development of a variety of important invertebrate communities. Once established, these communities will become highly attractive to breeding wading birds, such as Lapwing and Curlew, as they provide important feeding areas for adult birds and their chicks.

Digging the scrapes caused quite a stir among the locals.
18 new bird boxes have been put up in both Elmerhurst and Hampers wood to encourage more breeding migratory birds into our woodlands. The boxes have been designed and installed to provide suitable nesting sites for redstart and pied flycatcher. These birds return to the UK to breed in open broadleaf woodland after spending most of their winter in central and western Africa.

Our team of park maintenance volunteers have continued improving infrastructure in need of attention; most notably in Elmerhurst wood where sections of footpath were getting waterlogged and quickly becoming boggy in the winter rains. Many of these sections have now been improved and should provide a much firmer footing whilst enjoying spring walks through the woods. 

Rhododendron clearance has continued in the West Park drive area of the park. Our dedicated team of regular conservation volunteers, along with a number of external volunteer groups (thank you MNTV and SSNTV), have been chipping away at it over the winter months and it's starting to look like were edging ever closer to the final stages of clearance.

Our regular maintenance and conservation volunteers have also been working in conjunction with employees from Vodafone to install a new flight of steps leading up from the gate at the Knott car park towards Pursefield wood. The steps are almost complete and should hopefully make for a much easier transition along this section of the footpath. 

This month we also sadly say goodbye to John Mead. John has spent the last twelve months on secondment working for the Eastern Moors Partnership, a joint venture between the National Trust and RSPB, managing some of the most stunning landscapes in the Peak District. Unfortunately for Lyme, his hard work over there hasn't gone unnoticed and the Eastern Moors team have snapped him up permanently. On behalf of the ranger team, thank you for all your great work here at Lyme John and we wish you all the best on your new adventure.

Although it’s goodbye to John we won’t be saying goodbye to the blog which he started and we will continue posting updates on ranger related activities and goings on in the park, so watch this space!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Footpath Improvement

The maintenance volunteers have recently been carrying out some footpath improvement work in Crow wood and a sterling job they have done too! The area concerned was turning into a bit of a mud bath due to the amount of rain we have been experiencing and required a few tractor bucket loads of stone and the same again of crushed limestone. It also required installing some revetment to keep the stone in place and prevent further erosion. 

Surface water runs down the slope on the far side of the wall, across the path 
and into the stream below. Persistent heavy rainfall over the last few weeks 
had turned this area of the path into a wallow fit for a hippo.  

A nearby plantation requiring some thinning provided timber for the revetment. 
The stone has raised the hollow to the level of the rest of the footpath 
and will allow water to drain through the path towards the stream 
without water logging the surface.
The natural curvature of the wood almost perfectly matches the bend of the path,
which was of course intentional when the trees were selected.  
Finally crushed limestone is spread on top and compressed to provide
 a solid and level surface to walk on.

A number of footpaths in the park are in need of a bit of tlc and with the help of volunteers we will be continuing with more improvement works over the coming weeks and months.