What we do?
We undertake a wide variety of work across the year. We have put together a calendar of tasks to give you an idea of what you will be involved with whilst volunteering with Durham Wildlife Trust.
Winter (October – mid-March)
This is probably our busiest period of the year!
From October right the way through till mid-March we fell none native trees in our woodlands and thin dense stands of trees as part of a programme of woodland management.
We also cut and burn scrub and scattered trees in our heathland and grassland habitats – an open habitat benefits a wide range of plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
The winter period is a good time of year to lay hedges - this is a traditional method of keeping hedges stock proof but more importantly better for wildlife.
October is a good time of year to remove trees from our reed beds and cut reeds and other pond vegetation – this management keeps our wetlands in a healthy state.
February and March is a good time to plant trees and plant up new hedgerows.
This is also the time of year we produce timber ready for charcoal production in April – ready for all those summer BBQs!
Spring (mid-March – mid-June)
From mid-March to the middle of June this is the time when we undertake access improvements, fence repairs and new fence/ access projects. Access works include resurfacing footpaths and top-dressing (levelling) steps. We also paint the hides at Low Barns.
Fences across most of our reserves either need maintaining or sometimes we erect new fences to aid grazing.
April is the time to make charcoal!
In June we cut and rake the footpath edges to keep them open for visitors.
June is also a good time to hand weed and maintain new hedgerows and newly planted trees.
Summer (mid-June – August)
From the mid-June to the end of July we pull balsam and bash bracken. Both species are invasive and if left uncontrolled, they will take over important habitats.
In July we spray bracken to help reduce the spread of this species in to important heather and grassland areas.
In August we make use of the low water levels at Low Barns to fell trees on the islands to improve conditions for marginal plants and wading birds.
We often have to give the footpaths a second cut and rake in early August to keep them open for visitors.
In September we cut and rake our meadows to maintain the diverse range of flowering plants and grasses. We also treat japanese knotweed to stop this invasive species from spreading.
In October we start the ‘winter’ work programme (see above).