Volunteers give more than 250 days for local nature reserve

Volunteers have played an incredible role in ongoing conservation work at Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Eycott Hill Nature Reserve near Penrith. During 2018 a team of dedicated volunteers gave more than 250 days, that’s over 1,500 hours, to help wildlife thrive.

Volunteers at conservation work parties have used their practical skills to help with nature reserve maintenance, installed new boardwalk to protect precious wetland habitats, helped to control bracken allowing recently planted woodland to thrive, and carried out botanical surveys to see how species diversity in the meadows is changing year on year.

A dedicated team of cattle checkers visited the nature reserve regularly 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.

Events have been enhanced by the enthusiasm and knowledge of volunteers, whether they are leading guided walks and cycle rides, helping at family fun days, or sharing expertise on the wildlife that call Eycott Hill Nature Reserve home.

People brought specialist knowledge and skills too, helping with vegetation monitoring to see how habitats are improving year on year, and carrying out species surveys to find out what wildlife is present on the nature reserve.

Imogen Rutter, Eycott Hill Reserve and Training Officer said:  “Volunteers make a huge difference to what we can achieve at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. From sharing knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm, to helping with practical tasks that need many pairs of hands, the contribution they make really makes a 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 23 January, Thursday 7 February, and Wednesday 20 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 events@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.

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is supported by 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


National Lottery Heritage Fund

Work at Eycott Hill Nature Reserve is possible thanks to National Lottery Players, and support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.