When our family moved out of town and into the countryside 10 years ago I didn't fully appreciate how much I would love living close to Worcestershire Wildlife Trust's Hill Court Farm and The Blacklands Reserve. It has enhanced my enjoyment of countryside living immensely to be able to watch the wildlife attracted to the Reserve and observe some of it spilling over into neighbouring fields and even our own garden. So when the opportunity to join the Hill Court Farm volunteers came along I jumped at it! It gave me the opportunity to take a closer look at the Reserve, which isn't currently open to the public, and a chance to give something back to the place that has brought so much pleasure to us over the years.
Since joining up I've got involved with all sorts of things I would never have imagined myself doing, like cattle checking, hedge laying and pond digging. I've learned an awful lot about wildlife and habitats and seen some amazing and fascinating things. It's something we have been able to get involved in as a family and has also been a great way of meeting like minded people - people who listen with enthusiasm if I gush on about things like finding myself only a few short feet away from a hare, or seeing a barn owl fly from an ancient oak.
Now eighteen months in I find myself unexpectedly, but very enthusiastically taking up the role of volunteer task leader for the Hill Court Farm volunteer work party, which meets on the last Saturday of every month (except December). The tasks the work party tackle are varied and have recently included hedgerow clearing and the creation of a woodland pond, both of which we've been able to step back from at the end of the day and say 'Wow! Just look at we've achieved'. As the pictures of the pond task below demonstrate the work is immensely rewarding and it certainly gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing everything we do is going to benefit the wildlife on the Reserve and further enrich this very special place.
Work in progress....
Almost there! Once we get a decent amount of rain the pond will fill & it will attract a whole range of invertebrates & amphibians which will in turn attract a variety of birds & mammals.
Tasks planned for the next few months include hedge laying and coppicing, tree planting, ditch clearing and seed collection / spreading. Plus there will be the chance to undertake some wildlife monitoring / surveying. The next work party is on Saturday 26th October.
If you would like to get involved, either on an ad hoc or regular basis, please contact Naomi or Rob on 01905 754919, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll find us a very welcoming bunch!
Sara, Hill Court Farm