Conservation and Access Traineeship: Our experience so far!

Four new Conservation and Access Trainees have joined Dartmoor National Park to learn the ropes and develop skills for a future career in conservation.
Isabel Almond, Lucy Fursdon, Oliver Pitts and Savannah Brownlow are getting stuck into their new roles, helping to support the conservation and protection of Dartmoor’s special places.

The following blog post is Savannah's update on the great work they have been involved with:

Since starting our traineeship in March this year we have thoroughly enjoyed engaging with so many different opportunities that South West Lakes have presented us with, with some of the work we have been doing including:

  • Fencing condition assessments and repairs at Trenchford
  • LANTRA Basic Tree Inspection course
  • Unblocking drains to improve accessibility across paths at Burrator
  • Preparing activities for Easter activity days
  • Strimming at Kennick
  • Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) training and mapping rhododendron at Kennick, Tottiford, Trenchford and Fernworthy for future management plans
  • National Vegetation Classification (NVC) surveys at Fernworthy to monitor wildflower meadows as part of the non-binding prescriptions of a higher-tier stewardship scheme
  • Bracken bashing to maintain and preserve archaeological sites
  • Met with the Dartmoor Wheelchair Access Group (WAG) to discuss route accessibility and ideas for a sensory route
  • Conducting visitor questionnaires at Trenchford, Tottiford, Avon and Fernworthy
  • Installation of visitor interpretation boards at Roadford
  • Moth trapping at Burrator
  • Community engagement at Yelverton Show.

With the summer flying by, winter is quickly approaching and with nature in its dormancy, we are looking forward to a variety of winter works including felling to make the reserves safer for visitors and create new spaces for wildlife and cutting back scrub to create optimal conditions for rare flowers and butterflies to thrive in the following spring and summer. Right now, we are just loving working outdoors and throwing ourselves into every opportunity presented to us, and we are looking forward to the rest of our traineeship with South West Lakes.

This scheme is a partnership between Dartmoor National Park Authority, the National Trust, South West Lakes and Woodland Trust. Posts have been funded through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a short-term fund aimed at projects which restore nature, tackle climate change, and create and retain jobs in the green economy.