Autumn Colours and Bracken Harvesting

By Janet Wedgwood

As the bracken turns golden we know that autumn has begun on the Ullswater Way. The trees begin to turn and soon the woodlands become a blaze of colour.the-ullswater-way-in-autumn-aira-woodsThis year has been particularly stunning with clear, windless days providing ideal conditions for walkers to enjoy the autumn colours and see them reflected in the lake.

 

At this time of year, the track descending towards the fell gate above Pooley Bridge passes between high banks of bracken.

 

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If you venture up to Moor Divock you may hear the sound of tractors working here and on the slopes of Heughscar. This is an area of common land, and local farmers have traditionally collected the bracken for winter bedding for their cattle. More recently, a system for composting the bracken has been developed by one of the farms to create a peat free compost, sold commercially as Lakeland Gold, and this has increased the extent of the harvesting.

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Wherever there is a view of the slopes above you can see evidence of the harvesting – the bracken is mowed and then baled before being collected, leaving bare grassy slopes. Just occasionally, a bale breaks loose as it is deposited on a steep part of the slope and comes bounding down to cross the track, quite a dramatic sight!

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Finally, thanks to Charlie Watson from Pooley Bridge Post Office we invite you to fly over the Ullswater Way and see the stunning autumn colours from the air. Enjoy! http://ullswaterway.co.uk/video.html

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