James Platts, FRSA, Chief Executive

I believe the environment is key to all we do; we need to value the environment for the societal and economic benefits it gives each and every one of us. Access to a diverse, linked environment helps people from all walks of life grow physically and mentally.  

My time working for South West Lakes Trust has been really rewarding, whether teaching a blind lady to sail at Roadford Lake, helping the wardens with fishing competitions at Porth Reservoir, managing the installation of new accessible trails at Siblyback Lake, or more recently working to improve habitats across our sites.

As Chief Executive, I want to support the work of our teams to care for the environment and ensure as many people as possible can benefit from accessing the outdoors. I live on the Devon - Cornwall border with my wife and two children and enjoy sailing with my family on the river Tamar and on our lakes. I am a firm believer that education unlocks the world and I continue to support this through the education projects our charity delivers.

Colin Vallance, Heritage and Governance Director

I love the variety of being involved in such a dynamic charity which combines my passion for the countryside with the opportunity to make a difference for people. I have had the privilege of working in many roles within the Trust since 2000, overseeing the governance, marketing, communications and central support services of the organisation, as well as heading up the subsidiary charity, Wheal Martyn Trust. Wheal Martyn celebrates and makes accessible the heritage of one of Cornwall’s most important industries, in such a special and unique place – I am continually inspired by the dedication and passion of our wonderful volunteers who help make this happen.

Lesley Whitworth, FCA, Chief Financial Officer 

I love working here. Every day I come into work and learn something new: how to tackle invasive plants in my garden, how to identify different birds and butterflies that visit our lakes, the fascinating history of the clay industry in Cornwall and that there are some big fish lurking at the bottom of our lakes! I have recently purchased two paddleboards, so I am looking forward to spending some quality family time at the lakes, camping and splashing around!

Neil Reeves, Managing Director, South West Lakes Limited 

You only need to look out over one of our lakes on a sunny day to understand why I do what I do. This, combined with a passion for the natural world and encouraging people of all ages and abilities to enjoy and learn from it fills me with enthusiasm. I love living on Dartmoor with my family and working to deliver conservation, access and recreation across the lakes of the South West with simply “the best” team of staff and volunteers is a real privilege. I am also on the management committee of the national Visitor Safety Group.

Nicola Morris, BSc (Hons), ResM, MRSB, Head of Environment

My job is as much about enabling people to engage with and enjoy our natural environment as it is conserving habitats and species. Seeing a child explore the woods or a family picnic in a meadow takes me back to my childhood. I loved woodland or seafront walks and now I enjoy daily walks on Bodmin Moor.

I am very fortunate to lead a team of skilled, passionate Ecologists and Project Officers. Coming to work is a real pleasure. Together we deliver exciting, sometimes challenging, projects making positive impacts on our natural world. Each day is different with plenty of opportunities to use my knowledge in invasion biology, conservation, teaching and project management. The beautiful sites never fail to inspire and I always leave feeling calmer having enjoyed their tranquillity.

Nick Herbert-Threlkeld, Head of Countryside

As Head of Countryside, I lead our ranger team to provide safe, welcoming places for all to enjoy. I work to improve our land management practices and support the progress of vital conservation projects.  I joined the trust in 2019 as Senior Ranger on Exmoor, bringing experience from previous roles and volunteering in the North West with the National Trust, Wildlife Trust and following this over six years As Ranger on Lundy Island (North Devon), leading on practical land management and conservation.  During my time with South West Lakes Trust, I’ve expanded my expertise, widening my knowledge of conservation, recreation and the water industry, having had great opportunities to develop my career. I’m grateful to have the privilege of working with such an enthusiastic and passionate team, working within this dynamic and ever developing charity.

Ashley Bunning, Head of Angling

Since the age of four I have been obsessed with fishing and have fished the reservoirs of the south west since I was at school. After finishing school I moved to Winchester where I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Fishery Management and Aquaculture at Sparsholt College.  I have worked in the industry at many successful fisheries and when the opportunity came to work at the Trust and develop the fisheries I couldn’t turn the opportunity down. I look forward to improving the lakes for angling and making it as easy as possible for the next generation to fish these fantastic waters.

Ian Morgan, Head of NCS

I am really happy to be working with such a great charity, full of such enthusiasm for what they do. Bringing NCS into this environment is a great opportunity for me and I am really looking forward to seeing as many programmes as possible get under way here at the Lakes. I have no doubt the young people that take part in the NCS journey we offer, will be back to enjoy our lakes long after their programmes finish.

Becky Moran, Head of Communications and Marketing

I’ve been passionate about the environment, wildlife and the outdoors from a young age so what better place to work than the region’s largest environmental and recreational charity! I’m also an award-winning journalist and public relations professional, including a number of years in the water industry, so you could say we’re a match made in heaven.  I’ve been at South West Lakes Trust since 2021 and learn something new every day about all the amazing things this charity does.

Matt Lennox, Head of Activities

I have been part of the incredible charitable efforts of South West Lakes Trust since my teenage years, beginning as a kayaking instructor at Tamar Lake during summers whilst I studied, and moving up through different positions in the organisation. My career has always been driven by my love for the outdoors, with a constant desire to share its many benefits with as many people as possible. 

My job nowadays as Head of Activities is extremely varied, which is what I really enjoy, but I get the greatest satisfaction from being able to share my knowledge, skills and experience with the amazing South West Lakes Trust activity team who I’m very privileged to lead.

Matt Loughlin, Activity Centre Manager - Stithians

Naomi Beckwith, Activity Centre Manager - Wimbleball

Jon Morley, Visitor Experience Manager, Bournemouth

Emma Scotney, BSc (Hons), MSc, ACIEEM, Ecologist

Working at South West Lakes Trust takes me all over the south west. No two weeks are ever the same or at the same sites. I spend most of my time recording and monitoring different species (like birds, bats and dormice) and monitoring and managing habitats. My role aims to understand the diversity and importance of our lakes and reservoirs for nature and people.

When I’m not at work I’m usually outdoors with binoculars glued to my face!

Terri Nicholls, BSc (Hons), Ecologist

I am an early career ecologist working for the Trust on a South West Water funded project focussed on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s). Here I am able to put my Environmental Resource Management and Conservation and Ecology degree, gained through Plymouth University and Cornwall College Group to good use. The main aims of the project are to help achieve ‘Favourable Conservation Status’ (FCS) through enhancing and/or maintaining their nationally important habitats and their designated features.

Currently a qualifying member of CIEEM, I have been incredibly lucky to gain experience from work alongside our in-house environment and countryside teams in a range of subjects from management plans to collecting valuable data with expert biological recorders across two counties. I have been a voluntary conservationist for many years, so to be working with a variety of ecologically rare and important habitats and those species associated with them is a wonderful start to my professional career and rewarding in so many ways.

Laura Dee, BA (Hons), Invasive Species Officer

Working for South West Lakes Trust has allowed me to engage in the world of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS). Since I started in September 2023 I have learnt so much and gained a plethora of knowledge in the environmental sector. My role is to help raise awareness of INNS and to implement biosecurity measures on our sites.  This includes assisting with the installation of wash-down facilities, dip tanks and boot scrubs. You might see me out and about at the lakes as I cover a variety across Devon and Cornwall. When I am not at work I like to keep active by climbing and hiking. I come from a land/ watersports background and love being in the outdoors!

 

Morwenna Moore, BSc (Hons), MSc, Dartmoor Biodiversity Officer

I joined South West Lakes in September 2022, after moving down from the Scottish highlands, and have been having an amazing time working at Burrator and Venford since. I am working on Green Recovery projects on Dartmoor which has been loads of fun, I spend many of my days with volunteers making leaky dams with willow and planting trees. I have learnt a lot in my role, about Dartmoor, rivers, woodlands and moorlands and enjoy working with local people to create the best results for nature and people. When I’m not at work, I am climbing, wild swimming and walking.

Kat Sarjeant, BA (Hons), PGDip, Trainee Ecologist

I joined the Trust in October 2023 as trainee ecologist and feel so fortunate to have this wonderful job! I am working on a project to deliver biodiversity enhancements at 14 sites across Devon and Cornwall. I love getting out and about to different and learning about all the diverse habitats and species present at our sites. I can’t wait to start making improvements to these habitats for the benefit of wildlife. I am also very privileged to work with such a great team of people as well as lots of amazing volunteers who give up their personal time to help nature. 

Alan Smith, Senior Ranger (Roadford, Tamar and North Devon) 

Kit Hancock, Senior Ranger (Exmoor) 

Dil Singh, Senior Ranger (Dartmoor) 

Jeremy Fielden, Senior Ranger (Cornwall) 

Briony Wood, Communications and Marketing Manager

Jen Carr, Digital Communications and Marketing Officer