Volunteers give more than 1,400 hours for local nature reserve

Volunteers at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve

It was a case of many hands making light work at Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Eycott Hill Nature Reserve near Penrith in 2017 as a team of dedicated volunteers gave more than 1,400 hours to help wildlife thrive.
Volunteering at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve

Thanks to volunteers at 32 conservation work parties more than 2,000 wildflowers have been planted including wetland and heath species, over 9,000 young trees have been kept weed free, bracken has been bashed, and walls, fences, and way markers have been repaired. 

A team of cattle checkers visited the nature reserve 111 times to make sure the herd of Luing cattle were happy and healthy, and that boundary walls and fences were in good condition. They also recorded the behaviour of the cattle at different times of day, in different weather conditions, and made a note of wildlife sightings.

People brought specialist knowledge and skills too, helping to monitor the flower rich meadows and grasslands to see how habitats are improving year on year, or carrying out bird surveys to see what species are breeding or present on the nature reserve.

Volunteers have also shared their enthusiasm and knowledge by leading guided walks and cycle rides that give visitors an overview of the nature reserve, what makes it special, and the work that is being carried out to make it a better place for wildlife and people.

Imogen Rutter, Eycott Hill Reserve and Training Officer said: “The volunteers at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve are fantastic and give so much, from sharing knowledge and expertise, to getting their hands dirty repairing dry stone walls or planting wildflowers. We couldn’t achieve nearly as much without them and their contributions make a direct difference to wildlife in Cumbria.”

New volunteers are always welcome at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. No previous experience or skills are needed for conservation days as full training will be given but warm, waterproof clothing, wellington boots, and an enthusiasm for working outdoors is essential! Conservation days are planned for Wednesday 17 January, Thursday 1 February, Tuesday 13 February, and Wednesday 21 February.

The work parties take place between 10:00am and 3:30pm and booking is advised so enough tools and biscuits are provided! Call 01539 816300 or email mail@cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk for more information or to book a place.

To register for other volunteering opportunities including species monitoring, events, or office work please visit www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/volunteer-with-us.

Conservation work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is supported by WREN via funds donated by FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund, and the Heritage Lottery Fund who awarded £1.6 million towards the purchase price and an ongoing five year programme of conservation and activities to benefit wildlife and people.

Located between Keswick and Penrith, near to the village of Mungrisdale, Eycott Hill is 216 hectares of exceptionally rich wildlife habitat and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for the plants in the swamps and mires and its geology. For the latest news sign up to the Eycott Hill newsletter at www.cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk/eycott-hill.