Cark Station Friends – A report to Lower Holker Parish Council May 2022

Since we last reported to the Parish Council our activities at the station, which are carried out under the terms of a Station Adoption Agreement with Northern (in respect of the Station itself) and an annually renewable licence from Network Rail (in respect of the land between the railway and the roadway leading to Cark), have been severely affected by the lockdown arrangements well known to us all.

However, we have been able to resume our activities and our small team continues to meet regularly on Thursday mornings where our principal activities are litter picking, cleaning the shelters on both platforms, sweeping the platform areas and car parks, weeding and mowing the grassed areas and tending the planters and hanging baskets.

You may be aware that in May 2019 we organised a Community Volunteer Day at the Station which was attended by more than 40 individuals from the team members, Northern and Network Rail, Community Rail Cumbria, Community Rail Network, ISS, NTS Global and Grange Lions.

On that day we were able to clear the roadway leading to the village of years of accumulation of weeds and foliage that were significantly reducing the width of the road, put a weed inhibiting membrane along much of the Barrow platform and take delivery of two Amberol planters which we were able to plant up (in the rain!) More significantly, we were able to clear a huge amount of vegetation from the area behind the station and that enabled us to start the project described below and formulate our plans for the future (see below for what was achieved on the day).

Having cleared that area, one of the things that came into view from the roadway was the ornate gate that was the original entrance to the station. We also unearthed the original pathway back to the road. We decided to create a wild life garden between the pathway and the car parking spaces and approached the Woodland Trust for some shrubs to form a border for that wildlife area. The shrubs arrived just in time for us to get most of them in the ground before our activities were curtailed by the lockdown.

We’ve been able to control and develop that area and last year the Grange branch of Men In Sheds built us a bug hotel and, with other insect friendly activities, this is what the area looks like now.

We have been recognised by Cumbria In Bloom as a major achiever and were awarded their top level of “5- Outstanding” in 2021- we also were awarded a special award for biodiversity because of our work on the wildlife garden.