Mar 13 2020

Handwashing in the woods

Hygiene in the woods has always been important and with the rise of COVID-19 it is especially important to ensure hands are washed before eating, drinking, smoking or touching your face. 


As well as viruses like Coronavirus there is always a risk of Zoonotic Infections in a woodland setting. These are organisms that can pass naturally between different animals and humans. They range in severity from nuisance to life threatening.


There are a wide range of circumstances where Trust staff, volunteers and guests can be exposed to these risks – practical work on pasture occupied by livestock, working next to bodies of water, general woodland tasks, walking through dense undergrowth where ticks may be present and many more.


The transmission of zoonotic infections occurs both after direct contact with an animal – handling livestock or mammal surveying for example, or indirect contact – inadvertently touching animal waste, or contaminated ground whilst working, without realising it.


It is important to promote:

  • The importance of good hygiene among outdoor workers
  • The importance of seeking medical help promptly if you fall ill following outdoor activities.


Handwashing in the woods can be challenging but there are certain steps you can take to ensure you and fellow group members can cleanse your hands after work. 


Where possible try and ensure that fresh water and soap is available or alternatively (If you can find it in the shops) hand gel with at least a 60% alcohol content. Alcoholic hand gels come in many different strengths right up to 95% alcohol and we would recommend using the strongest available. 


Thank you to John Michell and the volunteers at Northfield wood for the photographs of their excellent hand washing facilities. 


  • ChrisStephens

    As person to person transmission now seems a possibility and many of us are 70+ should volunteer group activities perhaps be suspended? I see that both the Avon Wildlife Trust and the Somerset Wildlife Trust have made that decision.

    March 18, 2020 at 8:27 am

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