A Volunteer Writes

John Coppendale writes:

I have been a volunteer at the Magog Down for about ten years. You might be curious to know why I volunteer and what it involves.

Soon after I retired I heard that there was an opportunity to help maintain this wonderful site by joining the monthly working parties. This seemed like an ideal way to give something back, to learn more about the Magog Down and how it is managed, as well as getting some fresh air and exercise with a team of like-minded people. I went along to one of the working parties and it met all of my objectives. I now join the monthly working parties whenever I am free.

We usually meet at 2pm in the car park on the first Wednesday of the month. The working parties are supervised by Nick and Claire, the Magog Down’s Rangers. They are very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the Down and enjoy imparting their knowledge to us volunteers, particularly about the rare chalk downland plant species that grow there. As well as a working party it is a free botany tutorial!

Our tasks are many and varied and can include hedge planting, tree planting, removing thistles and brambles, ragwort pulling, removing ivy from trees and cutting back undergrowth overhanging the paths. The work isn’t too strenuous, but it’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air and exercise in a wonderful environment. It always makes for good teamwork and we are invigorated by a hot drink and biscuits at some point during the afternoon. Many of us bring our own tools appropriate to the planned task, but the Rangers can also provide them. Apart from that, all you need to bring is a pair of stout boots, some gardening gloves and your enthusiasm to get involved and make a contribution to the running of this beautiful chalk downland.

If you would like to contribute in any way, do get in touch using the contact form on our Volunteering page.