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Start your 2024 fitness programme by learning new skills and joining Torridge Rangers in their conservation work

Volunteers at Gatefield

Volunteers at Gatefield

With the Christmas decorations packed away for another year, conservation projects on Northam Burrows and in neighbouring nature reserves are already in full swing as the new year begins. Over the next few months Torridge rangers will be looking to carry out a whole range of tasks aimed at looking after these green spaces, improving wildlife and nature habitats, and making these more accessible for both residents and visitors. At the same time, the rangers will also be busy organising and running a series of fun and educational activities to encourage families to get outdoors during the school holidays.

Vital to the success of these schemes are the many volunteers that give up their time to help out with the projects, and the council's recruitment campaign is now underway. Previous participants have commented on how taking part has been a great way to get fit, whilst also learning new skills and a unique way to experience some of the wonderful nature reserves dotted across the district. In a similar vein, the experience days are designed to teach locals and holiday makers about the wildlife to be discovered on the area's beaches in the mud and rockpools.

The events are designed for all abilities and allow people to participate at their own pace while feeling good about making a positive contribution to the environment.

The current events schedule can be found on the councils Northam Burrows web pages but includes the following opportunities:

• Wednesday 17th January - 10am - 3pm Bramble clearance around Middleton meadow

• Sunday 28th January -  10am - 12pm Litter Pick at Westward Ho! meet on slipway

• Wednesday 31st January - 10am - 3pm Meadow cuts at Kenwith Valley nature reserve

• Friday 2nd February - 1.30pm - 3.30pm Harvest Mouse Survey Northam Burrows Country Park

• Wednesday 21st February - 10am - 3pm - Reed Bed management at Kenwith Valley nature reserve

• Sunday 25th February - 10am - 12pm - Beach clean at Westward Ho! meet on slipway

• Wednesday 13th March - 10am - 3pm - Footpath improvements Northam Burrows Country Park

• Wednesday 20th March - 10am - 3pm - Dune fencing Northam Burrows Country Park

• Sunday 24th March - 10am - 12pm - Beach clean Westward Ho! meet on slipway

All events are free to attend with no experience necessary and tools provided for the various tasks. However, pre-booking is essential, partly so that people can be contacted if there are any changes as a result of weather and ground conditions. Participants are also advised to bring suitable clothing, footwear and a packed lunch and refreshments.

The beach cleans above are great for all the family but additional events during the half term include:

• Tuesday 13th February - 2pm - 4pm - Mud dipping Northam Burrows Country Park, meet Greysand car park

• Thursday 15th February - 2pm - 4pm - Rockpool Ramble Northam Burrows Country Park, meet near Westward Ho! slipway

The rangers particularly need help with the tasks at Kenwith Valley nature reserve in Bideford. The lake and surrounding area are one of Torridge's hidden gems so taking part in the planned events will be an opportunity to learn more about this less well known location and its abundant wildlife.

People are welcome to attend for part of the sessions if they cannot attend for the full day. You can email or telephone 01237 479708 to book a place or find out more.

Torridge District Councillor Lyndon Piper - Lead Member for Leisure said:

"The work the rangers organise over the winter months is vital in ensuring that the habitats at our nature reserves are in the best shape possible to support plants and wildlife throughout the rest of the year. Making these places as accessible as possible is another important element of their work. We wouldn't be able to achieve all of this without the contributions made by our volunteers so now is the time to ask everyone to sign up to this year's programme of tasks. A great way to keep fit in the fresh air and learn some new skills, so please get in touch and book your place today!"

12 January 2023

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