My time as a residential volunteer with the Watersmeet and West Exmoor team based at Heddon has been a fantastic experience. I applied when I was coming to the end of a volunteer role with the Scottish Wildlife Trust in order to build on my experience with the aim of finding a paid job in conservation in the hopefully not too distant future. The ranger team here work incredibly hard and have been very patient in explaining the whys and wherefores of things as well as training us (me and fellow volunteer Nick) in the various day-to-day tasks that they carry out. We’ve had the opportunity to meet people working for other bodies within the park and see what they do, take part in workshops such as engagement, hedgelaying, and map-reading; formal training such as pesticides and chainsaw tickets; and a range of ongoing skills and work that are required of a ranger, from the glamorous weekly litter pick to track maintenance, installing benches, H&S inspections and processing wood cut for conservation purposes a useful by-product. Everyone has been very supportive in terms of achieving my main goal – a job! – by helping with interview techniques and forwarding job opportunities, and I have been lucky in getting a 5 month seasonal job with National Trust at Blakeney Point starting in April. This will be a complete change in surroundings and work. I’m excited to start, but will also be sad to leave here as I love the area and the team have been really welcoming and generally fabulous! It’s an experience I would definitely recommend to anyone trying to get into conservation.