A volunteer clearing rhododendron at Trinity Hill

Volunteers work is celebrated in East Devon

Local people have so far dedicated more than 3,000 hours of volunteering to the East Devon District Council Countryside service in 2016.

With National Volunteer Day on Monday December 5 the Countryside team will be showing their gratitude to their willing volunteers with homemade cakes and extra coffee breaks during volunteering sessions throughout the week.

More than 140 countryside volunteers, from all walks of life, have supported the service this year with a number of practical tasks and assisted in education and events.

Of the 3,000 hours, 1,600 hours came from the Seaton Wetlands and East Devon Conservation volunteers who have supported Countryside Rangers in the management of Local Nature Reserves. During the year, tasks have ranged from tree clearing at Holyford Woods, creating and maintaining footpaths at Seaton Wetlands, pony checks at Trinity Hill and hedge laying at Knapp Copse.

Around 1400 hours were contributed by volunteers who assist with events and educational events. During the year, volunteers have shared their passion for the East Devon countryside at ‘What’s that bird?’ events, rock pool rambles and by representing the service at local fairs and festivals.

Tim Dafforn, Countryside Team Leader (People), said:

We are so grateful to the volunteers who help the Countryside team to deliver our core aims and objectives. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, and bring with them a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm. We’re looking forward to celebrating their successes with them on National Volunteer Day, and later in the month at their Christmas party, where they’ll enjoy a walk, lunch and quiz with other volunteers and the Countryside team in Otterton.’’

The Countryside service is reliant upon volunteers to maintain local beauty spots, conserve wildlife and engage with local communities and tourists. The 3,000 hours given by volunteers is equivalent to an extra 1.5 members of staff.

Cllr Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet new people, stay active and give something back to the wonderful countryside we all enjoy. 3000 hours is a wonderful achievement which has allowed the Countryside team to achieve great things across Nature Reserves and communities in East Devon.

A big thank you and congratulations to each of the volunteers who has been involved throughout the year, we look forward to seeing more of your work in 2017!’’

The East Devon District Council Countryside team manage 10 Nature Reserves across East Devon and provide public engagement events and educational experiences throughout the year.

To find out more about the service and opportunities to volunteer you can visit wildeastdevon.co.uk, contact the team via email countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or call 01395 517557.