Meet Claudia

Countryside Volunteer, Blickling Estate

Claudia Thielke  - Countryside Volunteer

Originally from Germany, Claudia moved to the UK ten years ago and now volunteers with the countryside team on the Blickling Estate. Find out more about what her role involves.

Claudia with her golden retriever at Blickling

Why did you decide to volunteer for the National Trust?

It was during a part-time archaeology course that I became aware of the National Trust and the work it does. I was amazed that an organisation that looks after historic places and countryside for the public exists. Coming from Germany where this is unheard of, I truly appreciate and admire the work the Trust does so I became a member.

After moving out of London and getting a dog we started exploring National Trust places together and I realised the full scale of what the National Trust is all about. I then thought about volunteering and giving my time to support this organisation, as I felt it would be a wonderful way to contribute and help preserve these beautiful places forever.  

What sort of work are you doing for the Trust?

I am based at Blickling and work within the newly formed Park Engagement Team. Our role is to engage with park users that are not necessarily going to the house, but are out and about enjoying the estate. We also help with trails and special events that take place on the estate.

Tell us more about your work…

Together with my golden retriever, KT, I roam the estate and promote good dog behaviour. I hand out poo bags to those who need them or assist people finding a good walking route. We're also on hand for questions about the estate, the places to see or we simply stop to chat with those visiting.  

We have found lost dogs, done litter picking and check the overall estate for anything that needs tending to, from broken fences to fly tipping. We also participate in planning and delivering special events at Blickling, like the monthly ‘Blickling Bounders’ dog walk, the bluebell walks or the family nature trail throughout the estate. 

What are you enjoying the most?

I enjoy being outside meeting people and their dogs. Helping somebody to find a great walk and seeing them enjoy the day and the estate is fantastic. I am also astonished by the enthusiasm everyone has. Planning and discussing some of the things we want to do can be really stimulating and some of the ideas need some fine-tuning, but seeing everybody getting excited about an idea is incredible.

What do you do in your free time?

I am still new to Norfolk, so in our free time my husband and I explore this beautiful county and walk our dog in many different places. We have been to other local National Trust sites, as well as the stunning beaches in the area. Apart from walking, I also enjoy doing a lot of other activities with my dog such as agility, obedience and flyball.

What has been the most valuable part of your volunteering experience?

It is inspiring to see so many people being passionate about preserving these special places. All the people I meet and have the pleasure of working with are enthusiastic and excited about Blickling and the National Trust. I’m proud to be a part of it.