Central region relief wardens are go!
Our woods have seen a dramatic rise in visitors over the past few months, with people desperate to get out in the fresh air during lockdown and through the following months where restrictions were slowly lifted. The Woodland Trust kept all of its 1,000 UK sites open for visitors and everyone was welcome; providing people with the chance to escape the confines of their homes and walk awhile in our beautiful woodlands. I am sure many felt a sense of relief taking a stroll in our woods and left feeling positive.
Sadly a small minority have not acted in a responsible way, leaving rubbish or creating fires which are damaging to the habitat. You may have seen some of this reported in national news, including Dering Wood, in Kent where individuals damaged and chopped down trees, set up camps, started fire pits and left litter. We’ve seen similar issues in some of our woods in the central region and further afield on sites in Bolton and North Yorkshire.
In order to support the Woodland Trust in tracking these and other types of anti-social behaviour a brand new ‘relief warden’ volunteer role was created. Whilst Woodland Working Group (WWG) sessions are on hold, if the site manager thinks appropriate, members of those WWG’s groups are able to sign up as relief wardens. This is only for individuals who are already fully registered as volunteers with the Woodland Trust. We have 37 relief wardens in the central region, and working individually or in pairs, their role is to walk their particular woodland site on a regular basis noting things such as vandalism, litter, and maintenance issues, as well as positives, such as interesting wildlife. Their role covers them to carry out minor repairs and low risk tasks like litter picking on the site.
Thank you to all those volunteers who have taken on this additional role and supported us as relief wardens!
Amanda Brookes: Volunteer Development Officer (Central region)
Feature Image: Judith Parry