Vale views for volunteers

Windmill Hill by Wendy Carter

A beautiful nature reserve with fabulous views over the Vale of Evesham is need of some tender loving volunteers.

Windmill Hill, near the Littletons, is a wildlife-rich grassland owned by the nature conservation charity Worcestershire Wildlife Trust.  The six hectare reserve is managed by a team of volunteers who meet once a month and a small group of four-footed grazers.

The Trust are running a volunteer taster day on Saturday 14th March for anyone interested in finding out more about this remarkable spot and what’s involved in volunteering there.

David Molloy, conservation officer responsible for the management of the reserve, explained “This is a truly special pocket of land that looks amazing in spring and summer; it’s the largest area of lime-based grassland so there are plants like greater butterfly and pyramid orchid as well as wild liquorice and field scabious.

“These plants, and the wildlife that they support, can only exist because of the dedicated group of volunteers that helps us to look after the site.

Our volunteers help clear some of the scrub that our livestock aren’t able to, which keeps the grassland open and ensures the variety of plants are able to grow.

“They also help with path and fence maintenance, wildflower surveying and butterfly monitoring.”

These plants, and the wildlife that they support, can only exist because of the dedicated group of volunteers that helps us to look after the site.

The taster day will involve a short guided walk of the reserve and will be followed by an hour or so of practical conservation to help attendees to get an idea of the kind of work they’ll be involved in.

Windmill Hill is the last vestige of limestone grassland in Worcestershire. 

As well as the lime-loving plants, the nature reserve supports a wide range of butterflies including marbled white, brown argus, common blue and small heath. The reserve is home to one of the longest running butterfly surveys in Worcestershire.

The reserve is grazed by cattle and sheep to help maintain the variety of flora – grazing animals tend to eat the coarser grasses, which allows the more delicate wildflowers to grow.

Fencing at Windmill Hill by Brian Taylor

Fencing at Windmill Hill by Brian Taylor

David continued “Volunteering for wildlife is a great way of helping to get fit and healthy; being outdoors, especially in a wildlife-rich environment, is good for both our physical and mental health. 

“Volunteers are crucial to our work but it’s not just us and wildlife that benefit; there are enormous benefits for individuals too.  Many make new friends and most learn new skills.  It can be hard work at times but it’s always good fun.” 

The taster day takes place on Saturday 14th March 10am and 1pm.  No previous experience is necessary and all tools and instruction will be provided.  Participants should wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear.