Posts Tagged ‘Wenlock Edge’

This year we find the group celebrating it’s 35th Birthday. We will celebrate with a huge bonfire party later this year. It’s great to hear that the group continues to contribute a significant number of volunteer hours to the National Trust. Our volunteer hours and stats for the year September 2014 to August 2015 were announced on Saturday, during our AGM. The results are always impressive – lots of hard work translates into a huge number of volunteer hours for the National Trust.

Figures are from 1st Sept 2014 to 31st Aug 2015:

  • total volunteer hours 3,027.25
  • 60 people volunteered with the group
  • we arranged 62 workdays at 13 different National Trust properties
  • average number of volunteers per workday  8

Where did we spend our time? The top 3 sites measured by hours worked are as follows:

  • Dudmaston (gardens and woodland)
  • Wenlock Edge
  • Benthall Hall

Matt Hinton topped the hours chart again this year with 309.75hours. Well done Matt.

A big thank you to all who contributed volunteer hours and to those who do committee work and workday leading, ensuring that the group continues to flourish.


If you’d like to add a few volunteer hours to next year’s total, why not join us for a workday? Our current list of workdays can be found on our EVENTS page. Pick a day and CONTACT US. Let’s make the coming year a bigger and better success.


Read Full Post »

Drum roll please….

Our volunteer hours and stats for the year September 2013 to August 2014 were announced on Saturday, during our AGM. The results are always impressive – lots of hard work translates into a huge number of volunteer hours for the National Trust.

Figures are from 1st Sept 2013 to 31st Aug 2014:

  • total volunteer hours 3,068.75
  • 73 people volunteered with the group
  • we arranged 66  workdays at 15 different National Trust properties
  • average number of volunteers per workday  9

Where did we spend our time? The top 3 sites measured by hours worked are as follows:

  • Dudmaston (gardens and woodland)
  • Wenlock Edge
  • Morville Hall

Matt Hinton topped the hours chart again this year with 310.75hours. He isn’t a man, he’s a machine! A volunteering machine! Well done Matt.

We also have a “top 100”. This lists the total hours volunteered by the top 100 group members since the group began in 1980. Just for fun, have a guess at how many hours the group have worked in total (answer at the end of this post).

Congratulations to our volunteers who earned National Trust Long Service Awards during this past year.

20 year award – Peter Orme
15 year award –Helen Payne, Ann Dalgleish
10 year award – Tom Freeland, Jen Davison, Laura Harrison, Sheila Smallwood, Rachel Freeland, Neil Semple
5 year award – Gill Amias, Ben Nash, Jackie Semple, Avril Simpson

They will receive their awards at a special event later this year.

A big thank you to all who contributed volunteer hours and to those who do committee work and workday leading, ensuring that the group continues to flourish.


If you’d like to add a few volunteer hours to next year’s total, why not join us for a workday? Our current list of workdays can be found on our EVENTS page. Pick a day and CONTACT US. Let’s make the coming year a bigger and better success.


(answer: 58,638 hours – wow!)

Read Full Post »

Wenlock Edge: new season

Returning to Wenlock Edge after a summer absence always signals the end of summer and the move into a new season. It did feel odd to be thinking that way yesterday as the sun was shining, the temperature was 22C and we wore sunhats! Don’t panic, it is still summer. It’s just that we have started work with an autumn/winter feel. This usually involves cutting trees and having bonfires. We know from experience that we will start September with suncream and end the month thinking about digging out warmer clothes…it’s pre-autumn!

We had a really good workday at Wenlock yesterday. The worksite was perfect: dry underfoot, easy access, amazing views. We were joined by two new volunteers (hello Sara and Oliver!). The work involved cutting back the treeline which was encroaching on a neighbouring field.

The photographs answer a few questions we are often asked about our workdays.

Did we have cake? yes we did. Lots of cake in the tin at the start of the day…lots of cake in the people at the end of the day.

Was there a bonfire? yes, we had two!

How good was the site? see for yourself.

Was the weather nice? blue skies and sunshine. perfect.

pic collage wenlock 31 aug


note: although we haven’t been working at Wenlock Edge, we have been busy during the summer at Dudmaston, Shugborough, Sunnycroft, Benthall and Biddulph. We’ve also had a working week at Cragside. If you’d like to join us, please find our current programme on our EVENTS page. Get in touch via our CONTACTS page or find us on Facebook.


Read Full Post »

It’s “Look how awesome we are” time again. Our volunteer hours and stats have recently been published. The results are always impressive – lots of hard working volunteer hours for the National Trust.

Figures are from 1st Sept 2012 to 31st Aug 2013:

  • total volunteer hours for the group – 3,465.25
  • 66 people volunteered with the group
  • there were 71  workdays at 16 different National Trust sites

Where did we spend our time? The top 3 sites measured by hours worked are as follows:

  • Dudmaston
  • Benthall Hall
  • Wenlock Edge
Matt Hinton topped the hours chart again this year with 379.25hours (plus his mum sends us cake – yay Matt’s mum!).

We are also very proud of our volunteers who earned National Trust Long Service Awards this past year.

20 year award – Ann Brookman, Andrew Dalgleish, Dave Maeer, Jane Maeer
15 year award – Christine Brown, Ron Murdoch
10 year award – Lucy Cole
5 year award – Peter Elliot, Jon Hazlewood, Matt Hinton, Zac Harvey, John Upton,Gordon Whittaker, Lisa Whittaker

Well done all.

A big thank you to all who contributed volunteer hours and to those who do the admin and workday leading, ensuring that the group is a continued success.

Read Full Post »

Hello all

We have reached the end of our first working month of the year and it has been a busy one, with challenging working conditions.

We started the month on Saturday 5th at Benthall Hall. The task involved cutting down old fruit trees and sycamore and burning the evidence on a bonfire. This is perfect work for the time of year: gets us working hard from the outset with the promise of a bonfire to keep us warm. There was a good turnout and we were rewarded with a hot meal at the end of the day. We had our tea break and meals in style as we were allowed to use the Hall as our base – perhaps the scruffiest group to eat around the table since it was crafted in the 1600s?


Benthall Hall

The weather turned from mild to cold for our workday on Sunday 13th, where a hardy group headed out to Wenlock Edge where we continued to open up a viewpoint on one of the many walks through the woods. The immense size of our bonfire created spring like conditions where we were working, despite the fact that the temperature didn’t rise much above freezing elsewhere.

…and then it snowed…but we were not put off

After a two year break, we returned to Shugborough on Sunday 26th. Shugborough is home to “The Great Yew”, listed as the largest evergreen crown in Britain and Ireland. We gave the yew a trim, not a chop! With snow on the ground, there was also time for a little fun.

shugborough yew

Trimming The Great Yew

shugborough snow

Shugborough snow

Read Full Post »

Beccy Speight joins SSNTV at Wenlock Edge

The month began with a special visitor to Wenlock Edge on Sunday 1st April. Beccy Speight, Regional Director for the National Trust in the Midlands, joined us for a workday. The location was the old railway line. The weather was fine, the cake was good and Beckie got stuck in with the work, felling trees and clearing brash. I hear that Ron soon signed her up as an apprentice firestarter!

We continued work at the same site on Friday 6th April (Good Friday Bank Holiday). It was Laura’s turn to be firestarter, under Ron’s watchful eye. Verdict: uses too many matches, has a lot to learn before she is ‘black belt’ firestarter. Max the dog worked hard and was too tired to walk home so he commandeered Ron’s car (see photo below).

Max drives home after a hard days work at Wenlock

It’s possible that April 2012 will be remembered as being very wet and we got a full helping of rain on Monday 9th April (Easter Monday Bank Holiday), Dudmaston, where we worked with National Trust Ranger Mike Annis to work on tree and scrub clearance at the Big Pool Dam. It rained in the morning…it cleared for lunch…it rained in the afternoon. We had two fires going which helped to cheer things up, but it did get a bit muddy underfoot and it’s hard to stay cheerful when your waterproof trousers cease to be waterproof and a dog steals your jacket to  lie on (poor Matt). A feast of Easter Eggs boosted morale.

Max doesn't like damp ground. Matt's jacket proved to be just right for resting on

We just can’t get enough of  Wenlock Edge. Our next session was Sunday 15th April. A different site this time, at the footpath running along the edge of the old quarry. In sunshine, we worked on path clearance and fence repair. This is a popular walking path for locals and visitors to the area. Our job was to cut back the overgrowth at the edges of the path and repair the fence on the quarry edge, improving path access and safety. If you are ever in the area, I can highly recommend the walks in and around Much Wenlock and along Wenlock Edge.

Wenlock Edge, Matt

The weather for Sunday 22nd April didn’t look promising but SSNTV are never put off by the forecast and there was a good turnout of volunteers at Wightwick Manor & Gardens. The work for the day was in the bridge garden, which had become overgrown with laurel and other tall shrubs. There was once a productive fruit garden in this part of the property and in the future it is hoped to return the garden to its former glory. With luck, we avoided the rain as we worked. It did rain, monsoon style, at lunchtime but we managed to take cover in a marquee to eat lunch and wait for the skies to clear.


Morville...soggy workwear

We didn’t have any luck with the weather on Sunday 29th April. Our visit to Morville Hall was cold and wet. It was raining as we arrived…it rained all day….it was still raining at the end of the day. Unperturbed, a hardy group of SSNTVers joined Morville Hall tenants Chris and Sarah. We braved the wind and rain to work in the garden, carrying out a list of tidying and maintenance tasks in preparation for the annual open weekend at the property and surrounding gardens. The upside of rainy days at Morville is that we are allowed to eat our lunch in the Elizabethan hall – very grand indeed! We stopped work only when we couldn’t get any wetter. Chris and Sarah provided tea and cake. This was much appreciated at the end of this damp workday.

Read Full Post »

What a great start  to 2012. Five workdays completed by the group in January.

We started the month with a visit to Sunnycroft on Sunday 8th January. The property is closed at the moment for its winter rest. A good opportunity to have a clear up in the garden. Over the past year, hedges have been chopped back and trees pruned (we got involved with some of this work – info here). The property has a good composting system in place (and yes, we’ve been involved with this too!), but woody waste can’t be easily composted. Our visit to Sunnycroft this month involved two large bonfires to get rid of the woody waste. Meanwhile, the digging crew got stuck into turning the compost beds.

Our next workday was at Walcot Woods on Sunday January 15th. The weather had turned cold and crisp – not that the group ever need an excuse for a bonfire or two! We continued the ongoing woodland management project, clearing back scrub and removing some of the smaller trees. This site is probably our most remote workplace, but it is well worth the extra effort required to get there. It is an amazing place to work, with many veteran trees and stunning views down the valley. (ed’s note: our website header photo was taken at Walcot)

Saturday January 21st saw a continuation of the winter hedgelaying programme at Attingham Park. The group welcomed three new people to share the workload.  (ed’s note: I hear that this year’s hedgelaying site is particularly good – there is another opportunity to join the group on 18th February. See events for info).

On the same weekend as the hedgelaying, another workday took place at Wenlock Edge on Sunday January 22nd. Working at an old quarry site, there was a lot of bowsawing and lopping – we turned trees and scrub into a log pile and a fire.

On Saturday 28th January,  group members met NT Area Ranger Mike Annis for a walk around Dudmaston Estate. It was a cold and bright day – perfect for walking…especially as the furthest point from the car park happened to be a pub (such good luck to find ourselves at the pub in time for lunch). Mike talked about how the work we do on the Estate fits into the overall management of the estate lands. We discussed possible future projects for the group. It seems that we won’t run out of work at Dudmaston anytime soon – good news for us!

We completed our working month at Morville Hall on Sunday 29th January. Always a favourite site, the turnout for this workday was high. The numerous garden tasks were tackled with our usual enthusiasm – apple trees pruned, flagstones moved, shrub roots mattocked, flower borders manured, paths straightened. We had our lunch inside Morville Hall – I wonder if the Elizabethan walls have ever seen such a scruffy lot within?! The day was completed with a lot of tasty cake.

So that was January. Busy, busy, busy. Bring on February!

Read Full Post »

“In which we change our name and enjoy a party or two”


We kicked off the month with our annual Summer Social. Sausages were sizzled, beer drunk, cake consumed. Time to relax.

July is also the time for our working holiday week to Cragside, Northumberland. Volunteers enjoyed a varied programme of work including rhodi bashing and rediscovering overgrown paths.

In between, SSNTV organised workdays at Morville, Dudmaston and Long Mynd. It wasn’t all work, especially when the Long Mynd group discovered a swing to play on.


The big news this month was the change of name for the group. We are now Shropshire and Staffordshire National Trust Volunteers, formerly the Wolverhampton National Trust Conservation Volunteers. Read more about the name change here.

New name, same enthusiasm for hard work (and cake!). Thankfully lots of workdays in August to keep us busy – a sunny visit to Morville, garden work at Moseley Old Hall and a Bank Holiday double at Dudmaston.


Our group year ends in August. Time for the AGM and this year, a new Chairman. Our retiring Chairman served in post for 8 years, overseeing an enormous growth in the amount of work we do for the National Trust. Thanks Matthew for all your hard work.

It is down to the continued work of the Chairman and committee members that the group continues to grow from strength to strength – many thank to all of them, past and present.

The end of the group year also sees publication of our volunteer statistics – facts and figures about how many hours we worked and where. This past year has been the best so far, so we have a lot to be proud of. Read all about it here.

We found time in September to cut the hedges (some large, some small) at Sunnycroft, some Rhodi clearance at Toothill Woods, apple picking at Attingham Park and a return to Walcot Woods to undertake some woodland work.

Ron celebrated his 70th birthday with a Birthday Bash and Barn Dance. Once more, SSNTV members kicked of their workboots and let their hair down for some partying. Ron is our oldest volunteer but he puts the younger members to shame with his boundless energy and enthusiasm.


Another working weekend, this time at Wenlock Edge. Accommodation at Big Mose Cottage for those who needed it. Some volunteers stayed for the entire three days, others came for one or two days.

October saw a welcome return to The Weir in Hereford with the volunteers cutting down buddleia and rosemary willow in splendid autumn sun. Other workdays included rhodi bashing at Attingham, undergrowth clearance at Whitgreaves Wood and an autumn visit to Morville Hall.


November brings along the annual Bonfire Weekend. Located at Dudmaston, we had 3 workdays and a bonfire/fireworks party in the woods.

The hedgelaying season started again at Attingham Park and we had two rhododendron workdays – at Toothill and Attingham.

The volunteer group was originally formed at Wightwick Manor. In November we spent a day there planting bulbs – these will look splendid in the spring as they brighten up the grassy banks.


December last year saw the countryside blanketed in snow and ice. We had to cancel workdays due to the poor weather and ice on the roads. Not so this year and we completed 5 workdays before Christmas.

Our Annual Christmas Weekend took place at Dudmaston – two workdays and a Christmas party. It’s a DIY affair as the volunteers muck in at Big Mose Basecamp to prepare the food and provide entertainment.

The other pre-Christmas workdays took place at Attingham (hedgelaying) and Wenlock Edge (scrub clearance on limestone grassland).

And so we come to the end of the year. Last year we had a successful workday between Christmas and New Year. We excelled ourselves this year by organising three workdays – one at Walcot Woods and two at Dudmaston. All involved woodland work and very necessary bonfires to keep us warm as we worked.

All that is left to say is to wish you a very happy and healthy New Year. SSNTV look forward to 2012 – we already have plans to work harder and eat  more cake!

Ed’s note: if you fancy joining us for a workday in 2012, check out our EVENTS page and CONTACT US (by email or fill out the contact form)

Read Full Post »

“In which we abolish Bank Holidays in favour of Bank Workdays”

The last 12 months have passed by in a flash. Time here at SSNTV web-towers for a bit of trip down memory lane.


The group were up and running early in 2011 with our first workday outing to Dudmaston on January 2nd. We continued a project that was to run over a number of months, clearing rhododendron from the woodland. January also saw us starting work at a new site – Whitgreaves Wood near Moseley Old Hall. This woodland had recently been acquired by the National Trust and our first visit to site involved general tidying and removal of broken fencing, in preparation for further work later in the year.

We always enjoy a visit to Morville Hall and our first visit of the year took place at the end of the month. There is always a good turnout for our visits to Morville and there is never a shortage of work to be done….and never a shortage of delicious tea and cake at the end of the workday. Hedgelaying continued apace at the Attingham Estate – this January also saw visits to Shugborough Estate and Toothill Woods, so you can see that we really do get around to all corners of Shropshire and Staffordshire.


The group really had something to celebrate at Dudmaston on the first Sunday of the month. Group member John Wells reached his 3000th volunteer hour with the group. The day was spent planting 1000 trees, a fitting way to commemorate such a huge achievement. (Ed’s note – by the end of 2011, there were a number of other landmark achievements for our volunteers including Ron Murdoch reaching his 2500th hour and Matt Hinton passing the 1000 hour mark)

Our second outing of the month saw a hardy group of volunteers braving the miserable weather  at Toothill Woods in north staffordshire, continuing work to remove rhododendron from the site.

Other workdays in February included another visit to Dudmaston, our first visit of the year to Wenlock Edge and another hedgelaying session at Attingham.


Walcot Woods, in South Shropshire, hosted our first working holiday of the year. Three days of fine weather allowed a great deal of progress to be made on the continued woodland management project at this site. Read all about the weekend here.

Not content with a full three days of work on the first weekend of the month, the following weekend found group members on their final hedgelaying trip of the season to Attingham on Saturday, followed by a workday at Wenlock Edge on Sunday and for those needing a little bit of extra work, there was gardening to be done with the volunteers at Moor Pool in Birmingham. Busy busy!

With spring just around the corner, a visit to the walled garden at Attingham was in order, helping National Trust staff to get the ground ready for planting. The final weekend in March continued the garden theme as we spent the day at Sunnycroft, helping wake the garden up following its winter sleep and some vigorous compost digging.


The first outing of the month was a social one. Dave Maeer organised a walk up Cadair Idris. He managed to ruin his reputation as this time there was good weather and the group didn’t get lost!

Carrying on from Sunnycroft, composting kept us busy in the walled garden at Attingham on the first Sunday in the month.

Six weeks after our last visit and spring had very much sprung at Walcot Woods. A carpet of wild flowers and a warm sunny day greeted us for a day in the woods.

Looking back, it seems that April was full of sunshine and our second visit of the year to Morville Hall was no exception.

Bank Holidays are usually when the group put down their tools for some rest and relaxation.  Some of our crazy group members decided that the opportunity for some extra work was too good to miss, so the tools didn’t get their usual rest this year. The Easter Weekend was fine and sunny (Ed’s note – hard to remember as I sit here wearing three warm layers of clothes on Dec 30th) and those who needed to burn off the calories from eating too many Easter Eggs found themselves at Wenlock Edge for Easter Weekend#1. Not enough work on the one day? That’s ok, as there was more work at Dudmaston on Easter Monday at Dudmaston for Easter Weekend#2.

There was an extra bank holiday this year, courtesy of a certain Royal Wedding. No chance of getting a day off as the Bank Holiday Workdays continued with work at Wenlock Edge which included some sheep herding (!?).


What was the plan for May? Oh yes, I remember, don’t relax, get out there on May 1st and get some more work done. Might as well start the month off as we mean to go on…

May 1st was a bank holiday monday. Having re-written the rules concerning holidays (i.e. they are not for relaxing, they are for working hard and eating cake), there was a good turnout at Dudmaston, working alongside the pools, cutting and burning the odd rhododendron or two.

Continuing our plan for world domination, Saturday 7th May saw us extending our ‘Empire’ to Hereford for a workday at The Weir Garden. The sunny weather eluded us but a great day was had by all who attended and it was enjoyable working at a new site. The thought of a pint and some food at the local pub afterwards kept everyone working despite the weather.

Looking back, it seems that May was a particularly busy month. With all of those Bank Holidays Workdays, there were seven workdays during the month. Along with those already mentioned, there was a second trip to Whitgreaves wood (fencing repairs), scrub clearance at Sunnycroft and helping out at the Plant & Garden Fair at Attingham.

The Spring Bank *cough* Holiday Weekend allowed a double dose of rhododendron clearance at Dudmaston on the Saturday and Sunday. We were allowed (!) a day off on the Monday. Some of the group took the opportunity to visit Walcot Hall Estate, of which Walcot Woods were once a part.

Joking aside, the bank holiday workdays have been a resounding success. As all of our members pick and choose when they do or don’t want to attend, organising workdays during the bank holidays has allowed more choice.


What happened to the sunshine? June saw its fair share of rain. Fortunately, the first workday of the month was mostly indoors – building birdboxes at Wenlock Edge. There was more rain at Attingham the following weekend for work in the walled garden. However, volunteers weren’t put off by the bad weather.

One event that wasn’t weather dependent was the 60th birthday party for group member Sheila. Group members young and old exchanged work boots for dancing shoes – a night to relax and enjoy. Sheila’s wasn’t the only celebration this year. There were 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th and 70th birthday celebrations for group members, not to forget two weddings for group members Gordon & Lisa and Ian & Jen (Ed’s note: it’s just as well that the group like cake!).

Attacking an overgrowth of dogwood was the challenge at Shugborough on 19th June. The month was completed by another visit to Attingham.

(Ed’s note: if you’ve survived this review of 2011 so far, well done…I never did get the hang of ‘editing’. Go and get yourself a cup of tea before you read the 2nd half)

Read Full Post »

Christmas 2011

The Shropshire and Staffordshire National Trust Volunteers have downed tools this weekend. After all, it is Christmas. I have a feeling that many of them will be swapping bowsaws for carving knives….

It has been a busy December for the group. There has been hedgelaying at Attingham, scrub clearance (and accompanying massive bonfire) at Wenlock Edge and we had our annual Christmas weekend at Dudmaston with two full workdays in the woodland and a lovely Christmas dinner together at Big Mose Basecamp.

This time last year we were knee deep in snow. We even had to cancel a couple of workdays due to the wintery weather. Not so this year. The weather has been weirdly mild. Lets hope that the weather stays mild – some dry days would be good as we have THREE workdays between Christmas and New Year. These ‘Twixmas’ workdays are an excellent way to burn off a few surplus Christmas calories.

On Wednesday 28th December we have our first Twixmas workday at Walcot Woods – this will be woodland work. Matt is leading the day. Then, on Friday 30th and Saturday 31st December we have workdays at Dudmaston. Laura is leading these two workdays with woodland work on the menu. There is accomodation at Big Mose Cottage for those that need it and as 31st December is New Years Eve, there will be a party atmosphere at the Cottage.

All thats left to say is to wish you a Very Happy Christmas.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »