The National Trust welcomed over 100 students from Hele’s School to undertake conservation tasks on Friday 23rd September. Plymbridge Woods, Saltram, and Wembury took part in the day, in which Year 11 were invited to have day out of school learning about nature conservation.
The group working at Plymbridge Woods created a glade next to the Railway Cottages. Advice was sought from the National Trust’s Archaeology expert and the vision of an open glade between the ruined Workshop and Railway Cottages was agreed. The students were given the big task of beginning the clearance operation. The area was thick with brambles, vines, nettles, shrubs, and saplings. They surpassed all expectations by clearing the whole area. The other activity involved working alongside Plymbridge Wood’s Ranger team in the task of laurel felling and burning. The students learnt a great deal about practical conservation management, and the safe and correct use of tools to do the job.
The Plym Valley team arranged for the rest of the year group to visit other National Trust properties nearby. At Wembury the pupils began by cleaning the beach, and after lunch they joined the Rangers clearing gorse. Meanwhile at Saltram the pupils assisted the Head Gardener in managing the hedgerows, and worked alongside the Rangers whilst they cleared and thinned an area of scrub.
There was also time for each property to lead an educational walk, in which plenty of trees, plants and wildlife was spotted and identified.
It was a wonderful opportunity for the pupils of Hele’s School to get some hands on practical conservation experience that will help to broaden their career horizons. They worked really hard and achieved an enormous amount at all three properties. We’d certainly be happy to have them again!