Volunteer group making big difference to village woodland

GETTING STUCK IN: Churwell's Environmental volunteers in Clarkspring Wood. (NS)
GETTING STUCK IN: Churwell's Environmental volunteers in Clarkspring Wood. (NS)

AT A TIME when groups of all kinds are chasing funding, having to set up bank accounts and write constitutions, Churwell environmental volunteers make a refreshing change.

The group, which formed in 2008 as an offshoot of the Churwell Action Group, is made up of people who just want to do their bit to make Churwell a more pleasant place for people and for wildlife.

Despite a complete lack of funds they have achieved an impressive amount through sheer effort, cunning recycling and occasional 
donations.

Clarkspring Wood and Daffil Wood, Churwell’s remaining strips of natural woodland that thread between the houses, have been transformed from overgrown scrub to areas used and appreciated by joggers, dog walkers and families.

Brambles have been cut back to allow native bluebells to flourish, thousands of bulbs have been planted, wildflowers sown, fences and dry stone walls repaired and miles of footpaths laid.

Dumped scrap metal has been turned into cash for projects while a local building company stepped in to help them with their big summer project, digging a small pond in Daffil woods where a kingfisher has already been spotted.

One member, Joanna Coultous, a teacher, is particularly keen to get children involved, whether through the schools or by organising events for local families.

She said: “Just walking down my street one child told me, ‘we really like the pond and want to go down and pond dip’, so there is the enthusiasm out there.”

She got involved after having seen an advert calling for volunteers in the Observer & Advertiser.

“I was working part time and I thought I would go along. It keeps me out of mischief and I really enjoy it and when I look round and see what we have achieved, it makes it all worthwhile,” she said.

Another volunteer, firefighter Jason Simpson added: “I was just walking my dog one day and got asked to help move an oak tree. When we had finished they said, ‘see you the same time next week’. It passes the time and it does look better and is much better for dog walking now.”

Visit the new website www.churwellactiongroupenvironmentalvolunteers@moonfruit.com for details of projects and events, including the big picnic on September 1.