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Shardale, Troutbeck valley November 2015

High Wray Basecamp Yearbook 2015

The Lakes

Welcome to High Wray Basecamp’s 2015 yearbook Nestled in its own private wooded grounds, High Wray is the National Trust’s full time volunteer centre in the Lake District. We’re proud to be an integral part of the South Lakes property, a gloriously diverse area that covers everything from lakeshore to high fell. Our area includes famous beauty spots like Tarn Hows and Windermere lake, Beatrix Potter’s house Hill Top, an art gallery of her work and even a castle. With 15 working farms and a wonderful network of paths linking all this together that’s a lot of land to look after! That’s where we come in. We work closely with the rest of the ranger team to ensure that volunteers at High Wray play an important part in helping to keep our marvellous countryside in tip top condition. More than this, since opening in 1969 the High Wray ethos has been that volunteers should get as much out of working with us as we do from them, something that still holds true today. We aim to help people feel that they’ve contributed something towards a beautiful place, learnt some new skills and had some fun doing it! We believe that there’s no such thing as a ‘typical volunteer’ and this yearbook aims to show the variety of people it’s been our privilege to work with over the last year, as well as to say a very big thank you to each and every one of them. We’d have a much harder job looking after our fantastic area without your help - we look forward to seeing many of you again in 2016!

Search under ‘High Wray Basecamp and Bunkhouse NT’ and ‘like’ our site! There’s not enough room to fit everything into this yearbook so why not keep up with what’s happening at High Wray on our Facebook page? We post regular stories and pictures about the different groups we work with, places we’ve been and wildlife we’ve seen as well as those odd little events that just can’t be categorised!

Some of the groups who come to High Wray gain recognition of their experiences and their contribution towards the conservation of wild places through the John Muir award. The award can help those who participate to gain a better understanding and appreciation of how their time with us is more than just working and how their contribution fits into the bigger picture. A famous quote from John Muir sums it up: ‘When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe’.

Tarn Hows

Wray Castle

Hill Top

With such a diverse and interesting area there’s always something happening in the South Lakes. Why not try visiting:; for the latest from Hill Top. for weekly reports from our ranger team. for Wray Castle’s own Facebook page

The lengthsmen An essential part of the Fix the Fells project, the lengthsmen are a dedicated group of volunteers who help look after our upland paths, spending a total of 1736 days volunteering on the fells in 2015! The Basecamp team worked with them on three separate projects—the path from Wrynose Pass to Red Tarn, the Old Man of Coniston and the path along the evocatively named St Raven’s Edge, above Kirkstone pass. With Basecamp being a bunkhouse we’re also the perfect place to hold more social affairs so we were proud to once more host both the summer ‘blitz’ (inviting volunteers from Scotland to join us as well) and their Xmas party. We’re looking forward to contining to work on these and other projects with this amazing group of volunteers in 2016!

Want to get involved? To find out more about Fix the Fells go to:

Working holidays down low ….

‘Thank you all for a fantastic week. It was a real ‘blast’ and I still can’t believe what we achieved and how good it looked’ Drystone walling holiday participant National Trust working holidays are always popular. With locations like this it’s easy to see why, but add learning fascinating traditional skills like hedgelaying and drystone walling, along with meeting new people and playing your part in helping look after the Lake District’s stunning landscapes and they become weeks to remember!

…. And working holidays up high!

‘Best experience I’ve had after doing these for 15 years—great rangers and great company’ Upland camping holiday participant In 2015 we ran two of our now legendary upland adventure camping working holidays. It was mostly dry for both of them, giving everyone a chance to properly enjoy having the fells to themselves in the evenings — a fantastic reward after a hard day’s work helping to look after them.

Our ’Walk in’ upland working holiday enjoyed even better weather and made the most of it by working on two different sites, joining the upland path team on the Old Man of Coniston for the second half of their week. To find out more about working holidays go to

Local volunteering The ‘South Lakes conservation group’ is a fantastic way for people from the local community to get involved with our work. But don’t just take our word for it, here’s what two relatively new members Neil and Lesley have to say about it!

We decided to get involved with the South Lakes volunteer group because we feel very privileged to live in such a beautiful part of the country and felt this was our chance to give a little something back and help preserve our National Park for future generations. We soon realised that the role came with the added benefits of acquiring new skills, learning about the environment and meeting many interesting new people along the way. Day 1 came along and we apprehensively turned up at The National Trust’s “Basecamp”, near Hawkshead, looking a bit too clean and not quite sure what to expect and what we were letting ourselves in for. We were met by our Ranger and started the day in the best possible way, with a brew. We were briefed about the day’s activity and soon realised that our safety was of the upmost importance as well as our enjoyment. Our first task was to repair a deer fence, protecting sensitive woodland, near Wray Castle. We were shown how to knock in fence posts, attach pig nuts to the existing fence and cut away bushes and trees. We chatted as we worked and with breaks for snacks and a lunch stop in the sun before we knew it the day was almost finished with one last, quite exciting job, to chase out any possible deer before closing the woods up. We’re sure we spotted at least one! Well, we like to think we did! Since then we’ve enjoyed many superb days out in many varied and stunning locations. We’re now proud to say we can construct a lakeside path, re-build a dry stone wall (well, we understand how it should be done!) and know how to lay a hawthorn hedge. We’ve also helped to build the children’s adventure play area at Wray Castle and especially loved being involved with the Claife Viewing Station re-generation Project. The Rangers are so enthusiastic about the work they do, always explain why we are carrying out the tasks and are keen to make sure we enjoy the day and have a laugh along the way. Although the work can be quite demanding and strenuous they always make sure we work within our limits and capabilities and the days are never too long.It’s always a massive reward knowing that your work has made a difference to such an amazingly beautiful landscape. All these projects have been so worthwhile and we even get to annoy our family by proudly showing off our handy work when out on walks in the area. It would be great to see more people joining us on the volunteer days so if you fancy giving it a go remember there’s never any pressure to attend, if you're free, just add your name to the list on the website! See you in the hills!

If you’d like to get involved with the South Lakes group go to h p://  to find out more. 

The ‘Pilgrim’s way’ No one could decide who had responsibility to look after this dramatically named roadside footpath in the Troutbeck valley and it had become overgrown and virtually impassable. So we decided to work with the Eastern valleys National Trust team to bring it back to life as a gesture of goodwill to the local community, despite it technically not being on National Trust land. A local councillor agreed to purchase the stone to resurface it and with two days hard work by one of our regular rehabilitation groups, Shardale, we transformed the path — a great example of partnership working!

‘The experience has been fabulous. I have learnt how a path is built but also just how much time, effort, energy and resources go into preserving the Lake District and also what is available for you to enjoy, learn and be a part of’ Shardale volunteer

What can I say. Your help on renovating this path has exceeded what we could have possibly hoped for. I re-call I was going round in circles trying to establish ownership and get someone to do something about this abandoned path, to avoid pedestrians having to take their lives in their hands and walk on the main A592. We are grateful you broke this impasse and simply just got on with it. I know I have the full backing of the Village Association committee in expressing our thanks, both to you and those volunteers involved. I would be grateful if you could pass on our appreciation. Thankyou from Troutbeck village society

Fisherty Howe Our second year of working on Windermere lakeshore between Low Wray campsite and Wray Castle saw many more groups ‘lining up’to help create a sustainable surface for this popular path. Now walkers will be able to get through without muddy feet, the surrounding vegetation will be protected and there will be less soil run off through erosion into the lake. Everyone wins! The Princes Trust, Fairbridge project -Tyneside, Bury and Salford

‘I never thought I’d enjoy any of this but it was mint and I had so much fun’ Fairbridge volunteer Kendal College

Littledale Hall Therapeutic Community

Mind, Barrow branch

Glenburn Sports College

The Basecamp garden Built to make better use of the space between our two accommodation blocks, there’s lots to see in the new Basecamp garden. We’ve got big wooden compost bins, raised beds for fruit and veg, an apple tree, wildflower meadows for bees and butterflies, a herb garden and a boggy corner. With a colourful information board all about food miles and growing your own (and inviting Basecamp guests to pick some of ours when in season), composting and the plight of invertebrates we hope the Basecamp garden will be a great source of information and inspiration for years to come.

‘I’ve learnt that my determination that once only served to get me what was bad in my life was today positive determination to give something valuable back for people to enjoy and appreciate and to give me self worth and pride.’ Littledale Hall volunteer

We had plenty of help building the garden, with Mind from Barrow getting stuck in to removing the original to make room for the fresh start and Littledale Hall lending their skills to construct the new compost bins.

The garden started to come to life in spring and we had a good harvest of beans and courgettes this year. We’re looking forward to seeing it develop over the years!

More help with stone

As well as our drystone walling and upland footpath working holidays we had plenty of other help with walls and paths in 2015.

‘I loved learning the technical aspects of how to build a drain and will appreciate them a lot more when I see them on the hills, because I know all the work that’s gone into them. There’s no such thing as ’path Fairies’!’ West Runton volunteer West Runton helped us and the South Lakes path team to re-establish the original path line through the historic mine workings on the Old Man of Coniston, while Kendal college (left) and Chester National Trust volunteers helped us keep the woodland boundary walls behind Basecamp stock proof. Chester also got very muddy unearthing an old field drain on the Fisherty How path!

Slashers ready! Glenburn Sports college bashed the bracken back from newly planted trees near Windermere lakeshore, ensuring they’ll get enough light to grow and flourish in the coming years.

Bits and bobs TTP helped us maintain our access track when it was damaged by storm water and improve the woodland at Wray Castle by removing Rhododendron roots. ‘A jam packed week, experienced the feeling of gratitude for where I was, the beautiful scenery, the animals, National Trust staff + the buildings. Giving back to conserve our gorgeous outdoors I’ve learnt I’m not scared of hard work, I work well in a team’ TTP volunteer

Northumbria National Trust volunteers cleared out invasive species in the nature reserve at Ash Landing and finished off the hedges at Hoathwaite.

Basecamp staff team 2015

Rob Clarke

Philippa Barber

Matt Tweed

With thanks to Mrs Lumley, the Garratts, the Pendle Forest Association and Di Lang for all of your continued support. It means a lot to us! High Wray Basecamp is also available for private hire. Contact us to find out more. National Trust High Wray Basecamp High Wray Ambleside Cumbria LA22 0JE

015394 34633 Acland block

Longland block Registered charity no 205846

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High Wray Basecamp 2015 yearbook  

The now traditional summary of another busy year at the National Trust's full time volunteer centre in the Lake District. Thanks to everyone...

High Wray Basecamp 2015 yearbook  

The now traditional summary of another busy year at the National Trust's full time volunteer centre in the Lake District. Thanks to everyone...