Volunteer Diary at Eycott Hill

I’m almost two months into my placement and I’m still introducing myself as the new long term volunteer at Eycott Hill, as well as still being bowled over by the views from the nature reserve.

I’m not yet a quarter of the way through my placement but even in the short time I’ve been here I’ve learned so much, from the names of the wildflowers to moth identification.

 I’ve been involved with many projects at Eycott Hill. There’s been a lot of vegetation surveying going on at the nature reserve looking at wildflower meadows, dry and wet grassland and heathland areas. We’ve recorded a large number of species including important ‘positive indicator’ species (such as Marsh-bedstraw, Marsh Violet and Greater Bird’s-foot-trefoil) and the County flower of Cumbria Grass of Parnassus.

 I’ve helped assess drystone walls, plant plug plants, carried tools and quadrats and helped out at events such as the farmer’s day at Eycott Hill where farmers came to look at the Luing cattle on the reserve, see where they were grazing and to discuss the future of grazing on the nature reserve.

 I’ve been very lucky with the weather, I’ve spent many days surveying or plug planting basking in the sunshine. But I’ve already learned that Eycott Hill can get very windy, and I was glad of the shelter of the tent on the farmer’s day.

 Over the next few months I’ll be visiting other Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserves; including Orton Moss and Clint’s Quarry, researching the history of Eycott Hill and doing training courses in outdoor first aid, drystone walling, top wire fencing and fungi ID so I’ll be quite busy over the next few months.

Louise