Plym Valley Volunteers 1 – 0 Laurel

Volunteers were out in force last weekend in Plymbridge Woods assisting the Rangers with the continuing task of laurel bashing and burning.

On Saturday, we were joined by students from Plymouth University including members of the Environmental Society from the Students’ Union. This formed part of our new programme of volunteering opportunities available to the students throughout the academic year. Sunday saw South Devon National Trust Volunteers lending a helping hand, as they regularly do with many tasks here in the Plym Valley and other NT properties. Both groups attacked this prolific invader of native woodlands with great energy and determination, making a considerable dent in our efforts to eradicate this species from Plymbridge Woods.

Students from the University of Plymouth

South Devon National Trust Volunteers

Cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) is native to the Balkans (Southeastern Europe) but has been grown for ornamental purposes across Europe and has become naturalised in open woodland. Due to its vigorous growth habits and adaptability to varying climatic conditions, it out competes our native plant species for space and light. It also has limited value to our native fauna. Eventually, we will replant areas previously dominated by laurel with native tree species in order to enhance the biodiversity of the woodland.




David Weekes 1937 – 2011


It is with great sadness that I report the Passing of David in the early hours of Saturday 19th November after a brave fight against cancer.  

A life member of the National Trust, David became a volunteer with the wardens of Lydford Gorge early in 2003 and was thoroughly dependable member of the team. 

David was passionate about the gorge and fascinated by its varied aspects from industrial archaeology to its rich and diverse wildlife. He enjoyed meeting visitors to the property, answering questions illustrated by his pocket archive book of photographs, diagrams and cuttings which he carried as a rich interpretative resource. 

David also collected antique post cards of Lydford Gorge and his collection ran into several hundred, giving a valuable insight into not only how the gorge appeared long ago but how it was managed. 

Besides helping the staff of the gorge by volunteering David also generously donated the funds for the first formal children’s play area to be set up in a corner of the orchard. He also helped the wardens with the purchase of much needed equipment such as a long reach pole chainsaw. 

In his role as Volunteer Warden David assisted with any task in progress such as the clearing and winching of fallen trees. Later he took over the weekly health and safety inspections of pathways. He also gave his time on weekends and bank holidays to support staff with car parking and events. On woodland sculpture days he helped children to make the most wonderful faces from freshy cut wood. 

David was a quiet, gentle and unassuming man with a great warmth and kindness. He was a wonderful person to work with will be greatly missed by everyone at Lydford.

Adrian Shaw.