Jun 03 2021

Happy volunteers week to all the South West Volunteers from Ross Kennerley

Dear South West Volunteers

I wanted to wish you all a very happy National Volunteers Week and thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Thank you to the volunteers who have been able to continue volunteering for us during the restrictions, and to those of you for your patience in waiting to get back. We are keen to get all volunteering back up and running as soon as we safely can – but in the meantime much has still been going on.  This includes these highlights of what you have been up to.


Tim Kellet has recently prepared and delivered some training for a group of Ancient Tree Inventory verifiers. This is part of the government’s Green Recovery challenge fund project where we are aiming to record more of the ancient trees across the landscape. Tim recruited a group of 12 people to be trained, developed training materials, and helped to deliver the training with Tom Reed who manages the Ancient tree Inventory project for the trust. Together they ran 2 x 1.5-hour sessions whilst adapting to a new virtual style of training via zoom. find out more here about the Green Recovery Challenge fund.



Helen Bennett volunteers at Liverton Copse one of our woods in Exmouth’ Helen has spent a tremendous amount of litter picking and talking to the local community in a site surrounded by a number of housing estates. She has also been helpful with preparing for the ash die back work we need to undertake by speaking to the local community and helping them understand the ecological benefits, but also the health and safety reasons behind the felling. Helen has also helped us keep on top of garden waste left in the wood over the winter, by again speaking to residents and keeping us informed.


Fingle volunteers, in Devon, helped test the return of our woodland working groups. The volunteer groups are part of the National Lottery Heritage Funded Project which is being delivered in partnership by the Woodland Trust and National Trust.  The volunteers are led by White Wood Management and together they were able to put in place and test the covid secure procedures which were assessed by Nick Hall (Head of Health and safety for the trust).  Nick was impressed by what he saw and this led to the roll out of other woodland working groups returning across the UK.


Derek Yeomans is a volunteer warden, butterfly transect recorder and a licenced dormouse surveyor. Following several years of monitoring dormice using tubes and cameras he was keen to expand the surveying, so he made 10 dormice boxes and installed them at one of the sites he is warden for, getting the timber sponsored through a local company.


Like all our wardens, those at Tinney Firs and Nut Hill, have been fantastic at keeping an eye on the sites, following up any issues, reporting back, speaking to members of the public, highlighting items that need attention. It is so reassuring to know that our volunteers are out there taking care of our precious woodlands.


All the South West site managers wanted to say a big thank you to all of their volunteers.  They have all made fantastic sacrifices/efforts regardless of whether it is leading a group every weekend or have been quietly picking litter left by the irresponsible public for a few minutes each day. Some volunteers have joined us during lockdown to help maintain a wood close to them. All of the volunteer managers wanted to say a big thank you to each and every volunteer for all the roles carried out within the South West region. Though it is heartening to see more people visit our woods, sadly some have not been as caring as we like and there has been an increase in litter but once again volunteers have been out picking up litter as part of their walk in the woods. Not only important for our enjoyment but important to protect our wildlife too.


It is heart warming to be able to highlight just a few examples of what people have been doing during this past year.  I know there are many that I have not had the space to mention here. If you have not been able to volunteer thank you for your patience and we all hope that you can get back to the roles that you love and that we very much appreciate.


Your support is vital, the recent State of Woods and Trees report click here to read the full report shows us how much we need to value and care for our trees and woods. Your passion, enthusiasm and care give us all hope and enables us together, to achieve so much across the south west and beyond.


I hope to see some of you either virtually or in person later in the year.

Enjoy volunteer’s week – the volunteering you undertake enables us to deliver our objectives and is greatly appreciated.

Ross Kennerley Regional Director South West    and the South West staff team





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