My role as a volunteer at Hare Hill

Our steward Brian provides a friendly welcome to Hare Hill

Brian, our steward, has welcomed visitors to Hare Hill for over 20 years. Here he tells us his thoughts on the property and why he enjoys his volunteer role

How did you find out about volunteering for the National Trust?

I was on the committee of the East Cheshire NT and found out that they were asking for volunteers at Hare Hill. I didn’t know anything about Hare Hill at the time but was told it was an attractive spring woodland garden. I went along for a visit and 22 years later, I’m still here volunteering.

What's the most interesting part of your volunteering role?

I really enjoy meeting people and I’m incredibly enthusiastic about the garden – I look at it as if it were my own, even though I have a garden at home. It’s a people’s garden. It’s always been known as the hidden gem.

What skills do you feel are needed to be a volunteer steward?

It’s obviously important to be able to get on with people, be pleasant and enthusiastic and have the ability to convey your enthusiasm to your visitors. Being approachable and a good listener helps too!

What do you find the most rewarding?

To see people come out of the garden with smiles on their faces and hear they’ve had a super time. It’s great to see regular visitors returning year on year and to see that children are having great fun when they visit, especially when they feedback on changes in the garden. It’s also great when people enjoy their visit so much they enquire about volunteering.

What do you love about Hare Hill?

Its natural beauty, it’s a garden you would like to own yourself, it has an attractive walled garden, plus the woodland.

What are the key things you tell our visitors about?

I think it’s better for people to explore the property themselves, they’ll soon find the walled garden, the ponds and the woodland, plus the games and hare trail. I obviously let them know about any specific events we have taking place too.

What are the main changes you’ve seen over the last few years?

The transformation that is taking place in the garden, the improved planting has lengthened the seasonal interest. In the past Hare Hill was really a Spring garden but whilst the early bulbs, Rhododendrons and Azaleas bring the garden to life, the new white borders in the walled garden and other additional planting will certainly mean there will be something of interest right through the summer and autumn. We also have bird hide now which is proving to be a really popular attraction.

What are you looking forward to this year at Hare Hill?

There are lots of new events over the coming months, which will appeal to families and adults alike.