Conserving our greenery

The Conservation Volunteers pictured in Gainsborough.  Far right is project officer David Rodger  G120906-1a
The Conservation Volunteers pictured in Gainsborough. Far right is project officer David Rodger G120906-1a

Volunteers clearing rubbish from Mercer Wood in Gainsborough found many and various household items - including the kitchen sink.

They spent six days clearing the woodland which has become a dumping ground for fly tippers.

David Rodger is the project officer for Gainsborough’s Conservation Volunteers, the people who took on the mammoth task.

He said: “We’re giving the woods a makeover so that hopefully they will be fit for dog walkers and children playing.”

“They have fallen victim to fly tipping and we’ve removed all sorts of household items like baths, televisions, and even a kitchen sink.”

“There’s also been lots of litter.”

David, 43, of Lincoln, said there used to be allotments there which were fenced off.

“We have been cutting down a lot of old barbed wire fencing that had become entangled with the trees, and the old fence posts.”

It was back in 1959 that The Conservation Volunteers - now an international organisation - were set up by a group of people who wanted to do something about conserving the green spaces around us.

The Gainsborough branch formed about 20 years ago.

David said: “We help all sorts of groups, like parish councils and schools, to tackle projects which they might be a bit daunted about doing on their own.”

“It’s my job to provide opportunities for the volunteers to take part in. We get referrals but I also go out and look for projects.”

“Volunteers come along as and when they can, I can have 15 or four, it depends where we are and what we are doing.”

He said projects varied considerably, from clearing litter to planting trees.

“We might have a school that wants 100 trees planting, which they want to do themselves but they want to borrow our tools and be shown how to do it.”

His background is in estate skills, doing jobs such as thatching, and he is still a self-employed hedge layer and dry stone waller.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in the countryside and I knew the previous Conservation Volunteers project officer, so when he decided to leave I went for the job.”

“We try to use hand tools whenever possible so that we’re not using fossil fuels, and we are quiet. Hand tools work better on uneven ground as well, and it gives any small mammals and insects time to escape.”

“It’s also great exercise.”

The volunteers used wooden handled scythes while cutting and raking the wild flower Thonock Meadow last week.

One of the helpers at Mercer Wood was Lea Leighton, 46, of Lincoln, who is registered disabled.

He said: “I’m not working at the moment and I’m knew to the area so I decided to volunteer.”

“We always get the work done and achieve what we aim for, there’s a sense of satisfaction when the job is done.”

“It can be physically hard work and can be demanding when you are learning new skills like how to sharpen tools and building a wall or scything.”

“It gets me out and back in touch with nature.”

For more information go to or call 810350.