Work Experience on Headley Heath

Volunteers from the Prince's Trust working in the grounds of Tyntesfield, North Somerset

My name is Zoë Golding and I have been volunteering with the National Trust at Headley Heath since September 2016. I'm studying for a Btec in Countryside Management at Merrist Wood College and for this course I needed to have 150 hours of work experience. Here’s a flavour of what I got up to…

Looking after the Heath

The main part of my work experience was working on a large tree- felling project over the winter months where we removed just over three and a half hectares of trees from the heathland. This was a hugely practical task and it was great to work with our teams of volunteers to see a really beneficial outcome for this protected heathland environment. 

I also learnt that Headley Heath requires a lot of maintenance and I found myself fixing many a sign, gate, trough and bench and feel that I'm now well acquainted with a screwdriver and hammer! 

Checking our dormouse boxes

I loved checking the dormouse boxes on Box Hill with our resident experts Pip and Mary. Their knowledge about dormice, as well as Box Hill’s and Headley Heath’s fungi or flora is astonishing. We found evidence of dormice activity, a rather upset queen hornet and many a grumpy blue tit mother laying on her clutch of eggs. However, the most exciting find was a fly orchid which had just started to flower.

Easter weekend on Headley Heath

Another large project was Easter weekend. I helped the ranger team to prepare for their annual Easter egg hunts by cutting out and laminating the trail boards and all the signs. We sold about 2000 trails over the Easter weekend so all of the hard work was well worth it.

A big thanks

I would like to thank the Headley Heath and Box Hill ranger teams for allowing me to have this opportunity to learn more about the world of working in conservation. This work experience has confirmed to me that this is the field of work that I want to follow. I plan to go to the Royal Agricultural University in September to do a degree in Environmental Conservation.

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