Wirral Countryside Volunteers (WCV) was established in 1985. We are a volunteer-based organisation and we organise a programme of practical conservation activities through much of the year. Our members come from a wide range of backgrounds and we welcome, on our tasks, anyone who is interested in having a go - whether they are quite experienced in carrying out that task or have never ever even tried to do such a thing. We do have several members who are experienced in leading the tasks and at helping, and encouraging, others to have a go.
WCV do aim to promote both the skills involved in carrying out these tasks and the reasons why we think that they are worth doing. We offer training days in hedgelaying, and for that we sometimes bring in outside experts to help us. However, any task day can be a training day for those who wish to learn from the experience and expertise of others. The training tends to be informal and based on the job.
The arrangement of our programme of events is the result of a group meeting which is usually held every three months. WCV have the usual officers, a chairperson, an honorary secretary, a treasurer and a membership secretary; but all meetings are open to any members who wish to be present, and all are invited to play a part in deciding what we are taking on as tasks.
From its beginnings, WCV have held weekend tasks and much more recently these have been supported and extended by the “Intrepid Midweekers”, who have their own programme of tasks (though this often links to the main programme).
Activities we undertake
- Pond restoration - removal of willow and reed-mace
- Hazel coppicing - producing woodland craft and allotment materials and hedging stakes and to benefit the spring flowers
- Meadow management - cutting grasslands with scythes to enhance the wildflowers
- Hedge laying - one of the groups favourite activities and - for the really keen - participation in local hedge laying competitions
- Tree/Hedgerow planting - the group has a tree nursery growing trees of local provenance
- Social events - Visits to wildlife sites, evening walks and cycle rides
- 5km of Wirral's hedgerow restored by layering or planting. Some of the group are award-winning hedge layers!
- At Thornton Common Sycamores have been removed, marginal pond side vegetation has recovered and Smooth Newts are starting to breed
- An active hazel coppice system: benefiting the spring flowers, providing hedging stakes and woodland craft materials
- Success with growing Black Poplar from seed and success in propagating mistletoe
- Creating wildflower rich grassland at New Ferry Butterfly Park benefiting common blue butterfly and bee orchids
- Development of pollarding regimes for Willows and Oaks, producing veteran trees of the future
- WCV has received several awards and many grants
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