Some of our volunteers have kindly shared their experiences of volunteering with us - read more below to find out more about working with us from a volunteer's perspective.
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Volunteering with the Penwith Landscape Partnership has been an inspiring, enjoyable, rewarding experience, where I’ve made friends and learnt new skills that I’ll keep for the rest of my life.
I started volunteering in May 2021 with Nick Taylor, Richie Smith and their team of volunteers, who from the first minute made me feel welcome and comfortable. Each time, they taught me the skills that I’d need for the day’s activities, such as rebuilding traditional Cornish hedges, clearing archaeological sites, and building sections of coast path between Sennen and Land’s End, to help prevent coastal erosion. Nick also taught me about ‘bio-blitzes’ where we count as many species as we can in a day, it was fascinating to learn all about the different plants and creatures who share our home!
I came home on the first day extremely excited, knowing that conservation was what I wanted to do in my future career, and I’ve enjoyed talking about it with friends, teachers and even university professors. Since then, I’ve been out as often as I can, each time learning new skills, and exploring new areas of Cornwall. Every session is really interesting, exciting and enjoyable. It’s been great to work with people of different ages and backgrounds, who all want to take care of our local heritage, landscape, and wildlife. I love seeing all the hidden corners of Cornwall, building something for the future, and looking back at the end of the day to see the work that has been completed, which will have a positive impact on the ecology of the area. It’s been amazing and I can’t wait to continue volunteering here. Thank you, PLP!
Volunteering for The Penwith Landscape Partnership has been so much fun. We were volunteering at Mulfra Vean which is the location of an Iron Age settlement, with several courtyard houses.
On arrival, the site was very overgrown and with a group of other volunteers we helped clear the site in preparation for an archaeological survey. Richie [our Practical Tasks Officer] was fabulous in leading the clearance and gave all the training needed so we could have a go with all the hand tools. The ancient site’s expert was regularly on hand to answer all our questions about the heritage of the site.
It was exciting to expose the stones from the undergrowth and see the site come back to life. We were lucky enough to expose some new additional features, which were recorded in the survey. The days were always lots of fun with plenty of great company and tea breaks. It was such a fabulous location to have started volunteering as it had wonderful views of Mounts Bay.
West Penwith is unique, with its moors and sea cliffs, barrows and cairns, its stone field boundaries as old as the pyramids and still in use for their original purpose, scattered with ancient settlements and rare wildlife habitats. Being able to get out into this amazing environment be it in sunshine or mizzle, to help conserve these special places is a privilege.
The rewards for doing so are many, and everyone who volunteers will have their own reasons for doing so. I enjoy the more physical, practical work of keeping sites clear of invasion by common species such as bracken and gorse, and invasive plants like Himalayan balsam. It’s an opportunity to meet other volunteers; it keeps me fit and gets me out to sites that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. Also it is a learning experience. I come home having learnt something new, or wanting to delve into the history of a site or find out more about the different species of rushes found in acid bogs! In short volunteering keeps both body and mind healthy. Having a cup of tea standing in the middle of an Iron Age Courtyard House discussing with friends …perhaps the latest series of Poldark… is an experience as unique as the setting. And at the end of a sweaty, or damp, day to stand back to see how much our small band of volunteers has accomplished is another reward that few other activities can offer.