Volunteer Experience at Burrator By Michael Glinn



Michael Glinn, known as Mike, was was born in Yelverton in 1950 and has lived and worked in the area most of his life. Mike went to Meavy Primary School and then on to Tavistock Comprehensive, joining the General Post Office as an apprentice in 1967.

Mike left BT, British Telecom, in 2000 as a Manager and also worked for Banner, formerly the HMSO (Her Majesty’s Stationary Office), for 12 years managing the Plymouth Distribution Depot and driving a White Van. He was also a Retained Fireman in Yelverton for 5 years in the 80s.

Growing up in Meavy Mike had the woods, fields, moors and river as his playground and spent many hours at Hernspit Farm with Dick Radmore. Dick taught him what we now call Rural Skills – how to lay a hedge, make hay, work the ground, drive a tractor and lots of “Country Ways”.

When Mike “Retired” in 2013 he decided he would rather “wear out than rust out” and having always been interested in trees and wood and having a special liking for Burrator, he called in to the Lodge to speak to Neil Reeves, Devon Countryside Manager for South West Lakes Trust, looking for some part-time paid work.


Unfortunately there was no part-time paid work available however, there was plenty of voluntary work. Two and a half years on Mike “wouldn’t swap his voluntary job for all the tea in China!”


Mike said, “I’ve been volunteering two and a half years officially for the Trust although, many years on an unofficial basis tidying up trees that had come down. I can go back to when Gerald Taylor lived in the Lodge with his family and it was Plymouth City Water Works and there were 20 or so men working out of the Green Shed, to South West Water and on to the present South West Lakes Trust.”

What keeps you coming back?
The people, a love of the woods, the countryside and making things.

What’s your favourite place around Burrator?
Most of it, but sitting on Sheepstor Dam looking out over the water to the woods and moors at different times of the year with my wife and a flask of coffee. Looking at the different colours of the trees and water, we have often said “must take a photo of each season”. Several years later no photos but lots of memories.

Do you have any favourite memories or highlights of your time here so far?
Watching the Discovery Centre come to life. What we as a group of South West Lakes Trust staff and volunteers have achieved. There are a number of us retirees’ here and we all bring different skills from our varied past careers. It’s reusing those skills to benefit others.

There are many things I have enjoyed and I can’t remember ever having a bad day. Some particular good days; fixing the tractor to good useful working order, building the log shed having possibly the best helper, an ex-theatre nurse, passing nails, watching a demonstration of cutting granite with Feather and Tare and using this same idea a few weeks later on a big DIY project where an angle grinder would not work – You are never too old to learn! Other memories and highlights include; passing on my skills to some of the “youngsters” that have come to Burrator and seeing and hearing the Forest School kids having fun in their “classroom”.

What makes Burrator unique to you?
Definitely the people. It’s a big family!

If you would like to find out more about the different volunteering opportunities available at Burrator Reservoir with South West Lakes Trust please ring 01822 855700, email Hannah at bdcenquiries@swlakestrust.org.uk or just pop into the centre for an informal chat.