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A Day Volunteering at Plantlife’s Deep Dale Nature Reserve

Find out what it’s like to volunteer at one of our nature reserves. Jim Whiteford describes a day working outdoors, protecting and restoring nature in Deep Dale, Derbyshire.

person smiling

I’m Jim, an Ecologist at the walking and cycling charity Sustrans. As Sustrans are committed to supporting sustainability across the UK, I’m encouraged to spend at least one day a year volunteering for a charity which is making a difference either by improving the environment or peoples’ lives.

The day starts with

I met up with Andy Kearsey and other members of the Plantlife Reserve Team to help-out at their fantastic Deepdale Reserve, in Derbyshire. After a useful and friendly introduction about what Plantlife do and the reserve itself, we cracked on with clearing areas of hawthorn, blackthorn and dog rose scrub using a selection of hand tools supplied by the team.

Andy explained how the area we were working in was managed using conservation grazing and that by cutting back the scrub this would help the cattle to do an ever-better job.


Lemon Drizzle

After working hard, I was then treated to some fantastic lemon drizzle cake and had an opportunity to find out more about the great work Plantlife are doing across all their reserves.

The day ends with

When we finished stacking away the scrub we had cleared, Andy and his colleagues  took me on a guided tour of the reserve.

It was great to learn about the rich archaeological history of the site and see firsthand the fantastic range of valuable habitats Plantlife are working hard to protect and improve.

It was fun to spend a day outside, with a gang of positive and friendly people helping to make a great place even better; I also appreciated the chance to beat my daily step count and get some exercise at the same time!

I hope to be able to get involved again over the summer at another reserve.

Deap Dale Nature Reserve

Deap Dale Nature Reserve

The reserve, located in the Peak District national Park is a special place if you visit at the right time of the year you would see colour spreading over the hill side.

Volunteer with us

Volunteer with us

Volunteer with Plantlife and help us in practical conservation work or by data entry and research, or even campaigning and advocacy work.

person holding a plant with white flowers


Read our other stories about plants and fungi conservation and the human behind them.