A Morning with the National Trust Volunteers.

Posted on 04/08/2019 By

A Morning with the National Trust Volunteers.

Landbarn Farm. National Trust Headquarters for Denbies Hillside. Set at the foot of the Hillside. Once the farm for the Victorian estate of Denbies. Now where the volunteers are based.

Landbarn Farm. NT Headquarters for Denbies Hillside. Set at the foot of the Hillside. Once the farm for the Victorian estate of Denbies. Now where the volunteers are based.

A beautifully carved wooden sign saying "National Trust Landbarn Farm".

The volunteers cover two groups. The outdoor staff, of which Bobby is one, and the carpenters, who do remarkable things with wood. Including Ian, who is also a sculptor and made this.

Bertie at the barn.

Bertie looking at a tap. The sign above reads "Water provided for thirsty passers-by".

Bertie sat on the bonnet of Amanda's white Hilux.

Here’s Amanda’s truck.

Bertie sat on Amanda's lap in the car/truck.

And Amanda herself. Big cheese. National Trust warden in charge of the volunteers.

Bobby: “What are we doing today, Amanda?”

Amanda: “If you shut up talking, Bob, and listened – you would know!”

Roger: “Yes Bob. Shut up and listen.”

Bertie: “I thought it was only me!”

Amanda: (sighing). “We are tidying up the Ranmore car park for our visitors. Strimming the picnic areas. Cleaning the signs. Filling in pot holes. And, a little bit of … HIMALAYAN BALSAM to attack.”

The National Trust volunteers have all been at it for years. They know what tools are needed. But Amanda reminds them anyway. A trailer of road shavings too, to fill the pot holes. And off we went. Ranmore car park is high on Denbies Hillside set in woodland. The sun shone and it’s a lovely place. The volunteers split into groups for each task. Bobby is banned from power tools due to his accident prone nature. This inevitably means working with the ladies. That suits him fine.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/denbies-hillside.

Mark and Roger strimming in the long grass.

Mark and Roger strimming.

Rosie and Yasmin cleaning up the signs.

Rosie and Yasmin cleaning up the signs. While many volunteers are retired kindred spirits, we do occasionally have volunteers like Yasmin on holiday (from the Royal Horticultural College in her case) always keen to help.

Ollie and Neal having a great time digging a hole.

Ollie and Neal having a great time digging a hole.

Himalayan Balsam is a pain in the neck. Introduced in 1839 as a splendid ornamental plant, Bobby remembers quite liking it growing on the river bank. Attractive flowers. Nice smell. Lovely. An “Impatiens” species, presumably related to Busy Lizzies, the name means “impatient” in its method of seed dispersal. Basically invasive and having a detrimental affect on all other plants where it grows and dominates. Many organisations like the National Trust have balsam bashing sessions to try to control it. It pulls up very easily, but this needs to be done before the seeds appear.

Amanda with a long stalk of Himalyan Balsam.

Amanda with a long one. Hundreds of thousands of them.

Barbara with some Himalayan Balsam.

Barbara gets stuck in.

Maurice lurking in a shady nook.

Maurice lurking in a shady nook.

Bobby in the Himalayan Balsam.

And Bobby. Scratching. The balsam was sharing this shady corner with stinging nettles! Long sleeves next time.

Ollie of all trades sawing a rustic fence post.

Ollie of all trades.

Silver Washed Fritillary butterfly.

“Ere Amanda. What’s that big orange butterfly?”
“Silver Washed Fritillary.”
A beautiful butterfly that likes shady woodland margins.

Tea break, National Trust style.

Tea break, National Trust style. Who made the cake this week?
“Not Bobby. You had better buy some one week.”

Blue scooter.

Mod Maurice loves his new scooter.

Mending the potholes in the car park.

Mending the potholes. Using Ollie’s motor as a steam roller. Mark and Neil.

Mending the potholes. Using Ollie’s motor as a steam roller. Mark and Neil.

Lunchtime.

Lunchtime.

Maurice comatose. Roger thoughtful.

Maurice comatose. Roger thoughtful.

By lunchtime the stinging nettles had won and Bobby’s invite to meet friends at Mayfield Lavender Farm that afternoon seemed very attractive.

This was high summer volunteering. We work every Thursday throughout the year. In all weathers. All sorts of jobs, from skilful hedge laying to cleaning cow troughs. It’s a wonderful thing to belong to. Even in the rain. True kindred spirits and plenty of good hearted banter. Some of our stalwarts were on holiday on this day and will be featured next time.

Come the winter, we will do another story of winter volunteering. Also one featuring the carpenters and the important work they do for the Trust.

Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

Mayfield Lavender Farm.

Diddley loved the lavender fields at Mayfield.

Bertie in the lavendar.

Bertie with a candle for Diddley in the lavendar.

www.mayfieldlavender.com

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GardensNational Trust    


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