Volunteers from Isle of Man Bank’s Premium Banking team spent two days working alongside Manx National Heritage pulling Marram Grass at the Ayres.
A common grass of sand dunes, Marram has creeping roots and has an important ecological function, binding sand on the shore. Historically, in coastal areas of the north of the Isle of Man, Marram was used in preference to other thatching materials due to its ready availability.
Manx National Heritage’s Lhen cottage – Yn Thie Thooit (The Little Thatch) – was last completely re-thatched in 2009 and now requires some repair before a future new coating of thatch. Bent collected by the Isle of Man Bank team under Licence from the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) will be used for carrying out repairs to the present thatch.
John Skillen, Sites and Maintenance Officer for Manx National Heritage said:
'Manx National Heritage owns nine thatched properties at Cregneash, Niarbyl and The Lhen. All but one of these properties is thatched with wheat straw, the exception being a cottage at The Lhen which is thatched with Marram Grass, otherwise known as Bent.
Traditionally, this was readily accessible roofing material available in the north of Island from the nearby dunes. MNH’s cottage at the Lhen is now the only property in the Isle of Man that is thatched with Bent. Pulling bent is a very labour intensive task and we were very grateful to have the assistance of Isle of Man Bank staff to assist us with this work'.
Gillian Bayley, Premium Banking Associate, at Isle of Man Bank said:
'With the Bank supporting employees to volunteer in local community projects, we were delighted to have the opportunity to work as a team in helping Manx National Heritage with their valuable conservation work. A very enjoyable and rewarding day was had by all who participated in the project. It is important for businesses in the Isle of Man to support the local community and we would highly recommend other organisations to support MNH in their work through their organised community days.'