Muck in at Longshaw

Volunteers collecting tree seeds

Muck-In Days are a great way to get involved at Longshaw and the Eastern Moors. Rangers, staff, volunteers and families join up to tackle important conservation tasks, while connecting and sharing knowledge.

From repairing walls to seed collection and planting, Muck-In Days give young people, families and individuals the chance to – well, muck in! The Junior Rangers programme at Longshaw and the Eastern Moors also allows teenagers to collect stamps on their passport, working toward a full passport and the title of Junior Ranger (and a very stylish t-shirt to boot).

On a blustery morning in October, a group of volunteers, aged between 6 and 68, arrived outside the tea-room at Longshaw to start their day of woodland work.  After a short walk our task became apparent.  

There has been a large amount of felling at Longshaw this autumn, to restore the wood pasture and improve the habitat for insects and birds.  The felling work has left loads of debris – brash – behind which needs clearing by spring so that new plants can emerge.  

After lighting a fire on a raised platform, and a quick lesson in bow-sawing, we started to clear the ground in our area.  We created a few piles of larger logs for insect habitat; the rest went on the fire.  Lots of the brash was soggy and heavy, and everyone worked hard to make an impression on the huge area we had to clear.  

It wasn’t long before we needed some sustenance in the form of hot chocolate and biscuits that the Longshaw rangers brought in their vehicle.  

Then we got back to work, and eventually began to see that we were making a difference, and that our area was much clearer.  I’m planning to return to the spot in the spring to see how different it looks, clear of soggy pine branches, and instead alive with plants and flowers!  

This year, as well as more woodland work, we'll be repairing stone walls, pulling Himalayan balsam, bracken bashing, and lots more.  

Muck in days are a way for rangers, visitors, staff and volunteers at Longshaw to connect.  Most importantly, it means essential conservation tasks get done while having fun (plus, it’s fun to say in a broad Derbyshire accent). So go on – Muck In!