Find your spirit of adventure on Dartmoor

Have you ever wanted to have a go at rock climbing? The National Trust has teamed up with Spirit of Adventure, an outdoor adventure activity provider, to give you the opportunity to try out rock climbing at one of Dartmoor’s natural beauty spots.

river-plym-1

 The rock adventure day takes place at the Dewerstone, near Shaugh Prior on Dartmoor; a perfect place for climbing, scrambling and the thrill of abseiling. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy a day out with friends or family as well as seeing some amazing scenery along the way.

 The session takes place on Tuesday 12 August, 10am–4pm. You will receive expert instruction from qualified instructors throughout the day and will have the opportunity to move on to more challenging sections if you are able. All the necessary equipment is provided.

 The day costs £30 per adult and £20 per child (under 18; minimum age is 8 years).  Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult who need not climb. Please bring a packed lunch, wear trainers, long trousers and sleeves.

 For more information and to book your place please contact Spirit of Adventure on 01822 880277.

Green woodworking at Parke

A gate hurdle nearing completion in the woods

A gate hurdle nearing completion in the woods

Recently on Parke estate the Devon Rural Skills Trust came along to a small coppice area that we work in partnership to learn how to make traditional gate hurdles.

These hurdles would once have been made in their thousand to be used on farms to manage their sheep, make up runs, shearing areas, and folds for lambing. Now they have been replaced by metal hurdles much stronger and long lasting but having a far higher carbon footprint and less character.

From left, brace and bit, draw knife, twybil,froe

From left, brace and bit, draw knife, twybil, froe, hand axe

 The hurdle would have been made of ash, sometimes sweet chestnut or oak split or ‘cleft’ down t0 the required size with wedges and a ‘froe’ then shaped using an axe and draw knife. Mortise and Tenon joints formed simply with a brace and bit and a chisel or a ‘twybil’ (a very old tool specially designed for green wood tenons) in the uprights formed the structure held together with a few nails. The hurdle would have been 6ft long by 3ft high with between 5 and 7 rails, more rails were needed near the bottom if used with small lambs.

 However things must adapt to survive and the traditional hurdle has undergone a bit of a metamorphosis. The basic hurdle pattern can be adapted to different situations. They are great in the garden, made smaller they can hold back herbaceous plants from paths. Stop the children falling over walls or prevent their football hitting the roses. With a bit more imagination they can be formed into garden gates with cleft hazel infill. Or made really big and provide a structure for rambling roses or clematis.

Hurdles in place protecting the flowers in a busy garden.

Hurdles in place protecting the flowers in a busy garden.

Made from ash they are light and easy to move round, weather in nicely and last for some years, made from oak or sweet chestnut they are a bit heavier and last for many years especially if stored out of the weather in the winter.

 Best of all they have that lovely rustic look that blends beautifully into the garden and the countryside.

 Quite a few green woodworkers make them now. You can learn how to make them through the Devon Rural Skills Trust or come and see them being made at the Castle Drogo Edwardian Country fair on the 20-21st September.

 

Launch of coastal appeal in bid to buy Bantham beach and Avon estuary

Our colleagues in the South Devon Countryside portfolio along with many National Trust Regional folk have been working really hard over the past few months on the ‘Bantham’ acquisition – things are beginning to really motor now so I thought I would share with you this really exciting news. Press here to see our press release issued today. You can donate to the appeal here.

Images By Steven Haywood - National Trust - Bantham Village,  South Hams Devon. Image of Bantham beach by Steven Haywood

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Exploring Fingle woods

One of the most exciting things about the acquisition of Fingle woods is the need to get to know it I had a fair knowledge of some parts but I had never been to most of it. So on Saturday I got up early and went for a long walk in Halls cleave and Coleridge wood just to the South of Clifford Bridge.

A view down 'Hidden Valley'

A view down ‘Hidden Valley’

 In the bottom of the valley or coombe is a picturesque stream with grassy banks surrounded on most sides by rather forbidding conifer forest but a bit further up the valley are wonderful stands of huge Douglas fir, Western Red Cedar and Sequoia just like parts of West coast America and Canada. It seems a shame that the conifers are much maligned when in a commercial plantation but if left beyond their financially optimum life span and given some space to develop into old age the trees are very impressive. Continue reading…

50 things to do

It’s half term so here are a few things you can do to keep everyone occupied and happy in the great outdoors. The National Trust runs a free campaign to get kids outdoors doing fun things called 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4. Here is the link to the 50 things web site which gives you all the details you need to know – what are the 50 things, where you can do them (in your garden, the the countryside or at an NT Property) and how to them safely.

 

50 things 1

The 50 things scrapbook available from lots of National Trust properties Continue reading…

National Tribe Wild Tribe teams conquer 10 Tors

WT 45 finishNational Trust Wild Tribe 45 mile team approach the finish

Pete Davies, our Area Ranger in the Plym Valley and myself (Adrian Colston, General Manager for Dartmoor) have just got back from the annual 10 Tors expedition on Dartmoor. The National Trust had three teams entered and we worked closely again all year with Torquay Boys Grammar School who also had three team entered.

The weather over the weekend was truly awful – very windy and dozens of really lumpy showers. Despite this we managed to get all six of our teams (six young people in each) around intact. A brilliant achievement – well done to all the participants and a bit thanks to all our trainers and helpers. Here are a few photos from the weekend along with a link to our 10 Tors photo gallery.

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