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Volunteers bring skills to countryside
COUNTRYSIDE volunteers are bringing a huge range of skills to the work they carry out on the Mottisfont estate and the commons owned by the National Trust in the New Forest.
The men and women, mostly retired from paid jobs and professions, are out daily, helping to manage the land – cutting river weed, building bridges, fencing, clearing, coppicing – even making charcoal from wood grown on the estate. Some of the volunteers are still working, but take a day out each week to work with the Trust.
“What I love about it is the variety,” said Keith Fisher, part of the five-man team helping Lee Hulin, the Trust’s Outdoor Ranger to pull invasive pine saplings from Dorridge Hill at Ibsley.
“These guys are great,” said Lee. “They have such a lot of expertise and knowledge to offer us. One day we might be taking out pine as part of our heath restoration programme and another making charcoal, some of which is sold to help the work of the Trust.”
Steve Reed, the force behind the charcoal burning, is also a wood turner with the Hampshire coppice group while his fellow volunteer, designer Ed Chamberlain, makes besom brooms from estate wood and is planning pottery production using local materials.
Terry Rumford, part of the pine-pulling team, still works as a quantity surveyor, but looks forward to taking a day off each week to work with the team.
“It’s great for getting things into perspective,” he said “And the companionship and different types of work are all part of the enjoyment.”
Nigel Floyd agrees: “Volunteering means we can enjoy the countryside, help create a better habitat for birds and animals and meet people driven by the same agenda,”
Volunteers are always welcomed by the Trust. If you feel you can help in any way, please telephone 01794 344003 or email: email@example.com For more information visit nationaltrust.org.uk/ newforest.