On a rainy day in October it was brought to our attention that a section of pathway down to Heddon’s Mouth was slipping away into the river.
Ranger Daniel Cameron, volunteer ranger Tom and myself loaded up the work vehicle with mattocks, shovels, an iron bar and a wheel barrow as well as a chainsaw (and appropriate PPE) to re-sure the pathway.
In keeping with previous work we used the trunk of a tree for the revetment, utilising the natural curves of tree and path, packing any holes with stones and finally widening the path by taking soil from the landward edge and packing it up against the revetment to form a bank.
The result was a continuation of the wide, flat footpath down to the beach.
Now for a little bit about myself: I started to volunteer with the team in West Exmoor in July, after spending four years studying Environmental Geoscience at the University of Edinburgh. Despite greatly enjoying my course I missed being outdoors as it was a very theory and lab based degree. This led me to apply for the six month placement in North Devon carrying out practical conservation tasks.
In the three months I have spent here so far I have learnt so much – from practical tasks such as pathway improvements, repairing steps, ditching, stock fencing and putting up sign posts, to flora and fauna identification and public engagement. This has been alongside many formal training opportunities such as felling and crosscutting using a chain saw, ATV (quad bikes), 4X4 experience, tractor driving and First Aid. I am also enrolled on a Diploma in Work-Based Environmental Conservation.
I feel very lucky to be having this experience!
Fi – Volunteer Ranger