BTCV volunteering and courses

In a similar vein:

Conservation Volunteering with Saltscape
Help on regular practical workdays on local nature reserves doing practical tasks such as hedge laying, coppicing, reed bed cutting, scrub bashing and invasive species removal to name just a few examples! You can volunteer as an individual or as a small group and are welcome to join every workday, or come along once a month, once a year or once every so often.
If you like the sound of getting outdoors, learning practical skills and helping to protect the local landscape please get in touch with Sarah for more information at sarah.perry[at] 01606 723 160 or see Saltscape website.

Otter Surveying. Sara Blackburn of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildilfe Trust's 'Otterly Amazing' project will lead a classroom and field-based training day for Saltscape, Sun 10th Sept, 10am – 3pm, aimed at beginners, volunteers and members of the public who would like to learn how to identify signs of otters in the field. There will be a focus on urban otters and the use of camera traps to capture footage.
The training will include information on how to carry out a basic survey and report any findings to Cheshire's rECOrd centre. No previous experience is necessary but some experience of wildlife ecology and recording will enable you to get the most of the day. 
The morning will be spent in the classroom at the Weaver Hall Museum followed by a field trip in the afternoon within walking distance of the Museum. 
The field trip will include uneven ground and some work along the river, so suitable clothing and wellington boots or sturdy footwear is advised. 
This event is limited to 20 places. Free.
Booking on Eventbrite.

The End of TCV Cheshire

It is with great regret that I am writing to you to let you know of the confirmed closure of our Mickle Trafford office resulting in Martin will be leaving us and that our local programme of volunteering opportunities will cease at the end of next week. This is due to Martin taking some annual leave and needing to spend time sorting out the office space for our departure on the 19th of May (2014).

In the current economic climate we are having to make some difficult choices in order for us to sustain the valuable work we undertake across the UK and, unfortunately, the level of funding which we have been able to attract locally is not sufficient enough for us to continue our activities in Cheshire. We have not taken this decision lightly and we do understand that there will be many people locally who hold TCV dear in their hearts and who will be disappointed by this news. However, by making these difficult choices now, we give ourselves the best chance of continuing our work across the UK for many more years to come.

I really hope that you've enjoyed your time volunteering with TCV. We're very grateful for your hard work and commitment as a volunteer with us during the time you have spent with us.

We will continue to provide volunteering opportunities in other areas - the nearest of these to Cheshire are at Pex Hill Visitors Centre in Widnes and, if you are able to travel a little further afield, our Senior Project Officer Neil McMahon (n.mcmahon[at]; 0151 423 4433) will be happy to talk to you about our current volunteering programme. Closer to home there are a number of other organisations and groups who might like to hear from you, including:

• Cheshire Wildlife Trust: Bickley Hall Farm, Malpas, SY14 8EF; 01948 820728; info[at];

• Groundwork Cheshire, Yarwoods Arm, Navigation Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 1BE T: 01606 723160 F: 01606 723170 E: info[at] the Groundwork Cheshire team soon hope to have the Saltscape project confirmed where there will be lots of volunteering opportunities.

• Healthy Waterways Trust email- info[at] Address:11 Carver Road, Hale, Cheshire, WA15 9BH

• CVS Cheshire East: 11 Hope Street, Sandbach, Cheshire, CW11 1BA: 01270 736100;

On Countryside Jobs service this week there are also the following voluntary opportunities which may interest you.

Saturdays: Monthly work party on the Dee Branch Chester, IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Contact: Stefanie Preston 01494 783 453, stefanie.preston[at] 10am to 4pm. Work will include painting, weeding, litter-picking. Please wear old clothes, stout shoes, be prepared for the weather and bring a packed lunch if staying all day.

Tuesdays: Monthly work party at Malkins Bank on the Cheshire Locks, Trent and Mersey Canal, Sandbach, IWA North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch and Trent and Mersey Canal Society Contact: Stefanie Preston 01494 783 453, stefanie.preston[at] 10am to 4pm. Painting and vegetation clearance. Please wear stout shoes and old clothes and bring waterproofs and a packed lunch if staying all day.

If you need more information or would just like to get in touch please do so.

We send a BIG THANK YOU to Martin Watson for the fantastic work he has done for the organisation over the 8 years he has been with us, I am sure you will do the same.

Sincere regards

Katie Lowry, k.lowry[at] 


Pete's leaving TCV for Groundwork and Grozone....

After nearly 18 years with (B)TCV in Cheshire the time has come for me to move on. This job has been very, very special to me for all sorts of reasons…but mainly because of all the amazing the people I have worked with. I just want to say a huge thank you to all of you for making this such an exciting and satisfying period of my life.

I’ll be starting my new job with Groundwork Cheshire on 3rd March (2014) as Volunteer and Training Co-ordinator at Grozone Community Garden in Northwich. Many of our volunteers will know Grozone from all the time our midweek groups have spent there in recent years building the pond, raised beds, the compost loo etc, etc… This new job is a great opportunity for me to learn new things (especially about growing food!) and work with another great bunch of people.

My last day at work with The Conservation Volunteers will be Friday 28th February. I’m really hoping that many of you will be able to join us that day at Norley Rural Skills Centre for a local groups Mass Task and combined leaving do for myself and Fiona Nicholls. Fiona has been working as a Volunteer Officer with TCV Cheshire for the last two years and we’d like to congratulate her on her success in securing employment… also with Groundwork Cheshire at Grozone! …full details of our leaving do to follow.

Following our departure  Martin Watson will be organising all of the TCV midweek volunteer groups activity in Cheshire and will run the groups on the following basis [as far as is known, these are continuing unsupported by TCV]:

  • Tuesdays – Chester and Ellesmere Port Midweek Groups
  • Wednesdays – alternating each week between the Halton and Warrington Midweek Group and the Crewe Midweek Group
  • Thursdays – Vale Royal Midweek Group

Full details will be available on the TCV website at:

Martin will also be the main contact for enquiries about involving TCV volunteer groups in practical conservation projects and for volunteer enquiries and referrals. Martin can be contacted on 07739 447964 or at m.watson[at]

For other enquiries, including TCV Community Network, training and strategic partnerships please contact Katie Lowry who works as TCV’s Area Manager for Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside. Katie can be contacted on 07740 899539 or at k.lowry[at]

My own involvement with Trafford Mill will continue in a voluntary capacity and as a member of the Trafford Mill Board. In this context I can be contacted at: pete[at]   Details of volunteering opportunities at Trafford Mil and the Kitchen Garden will continue to be available on the TCV website alongside midweek group opportunities at the web address given above. They will also be detailed on the Trafford Mill website at:

And, of course, I will be hoping to work with many of you in the future in my new role within Groundwork Cheshire…you’ll know where to find me.

Thank you once again, and hope you can make it to Norley on 28th. Look out for another e-mail with all the details. [that means get in touch, if you're learning this here]

Kindest regards


TCV Cheshire has launched a new opportunity for volunteers to help with the upkeep and development of Trafford Mill. This will involve establishing a new regular group: the Friends of Trafford Mill.
Many of you may have already visited our office and workshop premises at the Mill, which is in Mickle Trafford, near Chester. This is a Grade 2 listed watermill dating from the mid eighteenth century. Records show that there has been a watermill on this site since the middle ages, with speculation that it was also the site of a mill in Roman times. The Conservation Volunteers have (as BTCV) occupied the mill since 1985 and Trafford Mill Kitchen Garden has been providing food growing opportunities for volunteers here since 2008.
Recent part funding through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development has enabled the installation of a new state of the art log burning heating system, which is very welcome news to all who have spent time here during the winter! We are looking to build on the positive impact of this by increasing the opportunities for volunteering, training and community activity at the mill and further improving the accommodation and facilities that the building offers.
To help achieve this The Conservation Volunteers are working with Trafford Mill Ltd to establish a 'Friends of Trafford Mill' group which will create new opportunities for volunteers and supporters to be involved in a number of different ways including:
Practical work which could include: building work (internal and external), decorating, maintaining tools and equipment, processing logs for the boiler.
Supporting roles in office admin, funding and publicity work, acting as guides to visitors, catering
Development work including: archaeological and historical research, contributing to the longer term sustainability of the mill.
Projects we have in mind for the near future include:
·          Rearranging internal space to create a larger meeting and training room upstairs
·          Fitting out the old forge to create a better maintenance workshop on the ground floor.
·          Running repairs to secure the fabric of the building
·          Improving the insulation and energy efficiency of the building to make the most of the new heating system
There was a taster day on Thursday 6th December 2012 for anyone who may be interested in getting involved.
Some Friends volunteer dates:

If you'd like to be involved with The Friends of Trafford Mill, see

Introduction to Community Orchards course was run by BTCV on 18th November as part of the Habitats and Hillforts Training Programme for 2011. It was based at The Grange Farm in Mickle Trafford. Details

The Wild Food Foray and Hedgerow Herbalist event run by BTCV as part of the Habitats and Hillforts Training Programme for 2011, on Saturday 17th September was well attended. Based at Helsby Quarry in the morning the plan was to walk up Helsby Hill - we'd found a pear tree up there - then move to Mickle Trafford during the afternoon. Sharp showers dampened our enthusiasm, so having stocked up with elderberries, garlic mustard seeds, goosegrass seeds etc. and making mental notes of currant bushes for future visits, we moved to Mickle Trafford, where we were to be shown round the farm and kitchen garden. En route I found some roadside apple trees to make up for the lack of pears. At the farm we stocked up with sloes, rose hips, small damsons, giant puffballs, a field mushroom and parasol mushroom, chamomile flowers, some weeds for salad and garden produce. The weather stayed fair, but some took a detour to view some birds of prey, and got caught in a drencher!
Inside, we prepared four soups, including an excellent mushroom one, two fruit crumbles - one apple, one wild fruits, had chamomile tea and tried roasting goosegrass for coffee - that was overroasted, it was half char, but the other half definitely coffee.
This was to tie in with the second of this year's Trafford Mill Kitchen Garden '- Time to Grow Cook-in' events where there was a chance to use the wild food we'd collected alongside vegetables from the garden to make some tasty seasonal recipes with a wild twist.

Carbon Army/Organic Allotment

A volunteer writes: "I have discovered a great project at Trafford Mill in Mickle Trafford. They have a kitchen garden on land rented from Huw Rowlands who farms at the Grange and is very into sustainable farming and wildlife protection. The project is called "carbon army" and is run by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers BTCV (check out their website, also info about the farm can be found at Having enlisted ....... in the "army", we get free veg and expert advice in exchange for our time spent working the allotment. They are also running cookery courses and other initiatives for the benefit of volunteers and have links with the Cheshire Wildlife Trust and the Forestry commission.
"If you would be interested in setting up a similar project in your neighbourhood, it might be worth visiting the farm. They have funding to do tours for groups of six or more and are keen to involve the community in the transition to sustainable lifestyles."

A Change of Name

BTCV has recently (announced May 2012) decided to re-brand as simply 'The Conservation Volunteers' (shortened now to just 'TCV')

A short video featuring their Chair and Chief Executive explaining the thinking behind the re-brand can be viewed at:

Further information and new images reflecting this re-brand can be seen at their re-vamped website at:

The Conservation Volunteers is a trading name of BTCV.

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