Woodland Working Group Spotlight: Sheila and Maxine at Dyffryn woods
Maxine and Sheila both started volunteering in the woodland working group at Dyffryn about four years ago, and they’ve become firm friends.
Dyffryn was overrun with invasive species and had been planted with conifers. There was a lot of work for the volunteer group on site including removing a large amount of rhododendron, small scale conifer removal and fence installation. Today the site is a wonderful mix of native broadleaf dripping with moss and ferns.
The pair form an effective team, with Maxine being the heavy lifter and digger whilst Sheila brings in materials, paints and directs proceedings. They have installed benches, gates and tracks – always with a ready smile and a joke.
“The Woodland Working Group volunteers are pivotal to the successful management of our sites. They become invested in the site and give so much time and energy, spreading their enthusiasm with their friends and family who come and enjoy visiting the site.” Says Ed Tucker, the Volunteer Manager.
Both ladies enjoy volunteering for the physical activity, social contact and feeling like they are contributing. They do lots of other volunteering as well, and they both joke that they need a busy day to get them a good night’s sleep. Maxine particularly loves that she doesn’t need to go to the gym when she’s been busy walking, digging and planting!
Sheila grew up in the area, in fact, she got married in the church 100 yards from the main entrance to Dyffryn. She remembers Dyffryn when it was owned by the Forestry Commission and dominated by conifers. One of her reasons for volunteering is to make a difference and see her local woodland grow and change for the better.
Ed adds, “Maxine and Sheila are regulars to our volunteer group, the volunteers and the Woodland Trust benefit. The volunteers get a free fresh air work out and socialise with like minded individuals, whilst our woodland and wildlife reap the reward of their hard graft on site.”
You can find out how to get to Dyffryn here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/woods/dyffryn-woods/
Written by Martha Boalch, Wales Volunteer Development Officer.
With thanks to Sheila Harris, Maxine Richards and Ed Tucker.