Will Jones, Wild East Devon Events & Volunteer Officer:

The Charcoal Volunteers are a brand new team for 2020 focusing on an unsung aspect of our work: the development of waste into a product. In the past, we have burned our excess wood from nature reserve management in bonfires, causing a small but unnecessary environmental damage. We now make the wood into charcoal to give a new lease of life to otherwise waste produce using our impressive Charcoal Retort at Knapp Copse Nature Reserve near Honiton.

With increasing demand from local outlets Darts Farm and In My Back Yard as well as national distribution partners Piper's Farm, we are developing a charcoal volunteer team to assist with the production of Wild East Devon Nature Reserve Charcoal.

Working with the staff team Rangers, the aim for the volunteers will be to increase the production of our charcoal by helping with all aspects of the burn including:

  • Packing the retort
  • Lighting the burn
  • Keeping the fires stoked and supervising the rise to 500 degrees Celsius
  • Developing the burn
  • Closing up at the end of the day
  • Bagging up the day after

We do up to 2 burns a week, each taking one full day. Volunteers are asked for one day of help once a week, but we are grateful for whatever time you can donate, whether it is more or less.

Volunteers have the opportunity to develop new practical skills and an understanding of habitat management techniques. No previous experience is necessary, all volunteers are offered first aid training and there are plenty of social events throughout the year. Booking is via the online volunteer portal.

All of the volunteers are offered training including first aid and there are plenty of social events throughout the year.

Please contact the Wild East Devon team for more information, email wild@eastdevon.gov.uk or phone 01395 517557


Please note:

The Charcoal Team is a separate project from our regular Wild East Devon volunteering and we are therefore looking for new volunteers to start as soon as possible. However, for all other roles please see below:

Upon the corona virus outbreak in March we suspended all volunteering activity including practical sessions and volunteer-led events. In mid-July we welcomed back our first two roles of volunteers on a small group session-basis of up to five people per group booked via our online volunteering portal. We plan to increase numbers and bring back our other nine volunteer roles when safe to do so and in line with government and NVCO advice.

Before we have brought back all of our volunteer roles and especially while we are leading limited-number volunteer sessions we’ve made the decision not to induct any new volunteers into our team. This is partly to give our existing team of over 150 volunteers a chance at (currently only 10) limited volunteering spaces per week as well as a desire to give new volunteers as good as a welcome into the team as possible which is only achievable with a fully-functioning team of staff and volunteers.