Brockholes Volunteers making a difference

One of the reasons Brockholes nature reserve has continued to develop into one of the region’s premier wildlife sites, is because of the fantastic and often unheralded work that our weekly practical conservation volunteer groups do.

One group, who meet every Tuesday, carry out a wide variety of work across the reserve, throughout the year ... whatever the weather!

Recently we were out with the group on the Island on No 1 pit, as they braved some horrendous weather to cut and clear the dying flora. This is just the latest task in a series of crucial work they have performed in 2014.

At the start of the year their work was mainly scrub clearing from the wetlands. Then in March they moved onto coppicing a full coupe in the hazel area during, which created a large stack of firewood and charcoal wood.

During spring the volunteers put up 300m of post & wire stock fence with two gates to enclose a new field, which increased our grazing flexibility. This project involved learning the technical skills of fencing from scratch.

Throughout June & July the group did an enormous amount of Himalayan balsam bashing, while August saw the clearance of a ditch that had grown over with maturing willow trees. This as impeding water movements but our volunteers opened it up and restored its function, which now allows us to have more control over lake water levels.

Brockholes' Reserve Officer Duncan Goulder explained how crucial the work is to the reserve. He said: “The work of our practical conservation groups is crucial to maintaining the high levels of biodiversity that we have on site. Without their efforts the habitats would all be in rapid succession towards scrub and woodland, resulting in the loss of our grassland and wetland ecosystems.

“Their work on the coppice coupe has lead to applications for funding to develop this system to encourage members of the public to learn about and develop a personal connection with native woodlands.”

We have over 200 hundred regular volunteers at Brockholes who dedicate their time to a variety of things here at the reserve. Tasks are as varied as helping out in our Welcome Centre and working in our gift shop, to behind-the-scenes office work and leading guided reserve walks.

Many of the volunteers were also featured at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust Volunteer Conference, which was held at Brockholes earlier this month and celebrated the wonderful support that the Trust’s hundreds of volunteers do.

If you would like to become a volunteer, either at Brockholes, or anywhere across the Trust, take a look here, or contact our Volunteer Support Officer Catherine Haddon, on 01772 324 129 for further details.