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Youth volunteers spring into action

The Youth Engagement Project has got off to a flying start with activities having taken place across the valley. A very keen group of 12 – 16 year olds has formed and they have been exploring and conserving the area and having a go at various woodland crafts. They kicked off by seeking out a number of the Geocaches to be found in the valley using the latest GPS device before moving on to some practical conservation work that will benefit the biodiversity in the areas woods. Trees have been coppiced and rhododendron bashed! The lead up to Christmas gave them the excuse to make dreamcatchers and wreaths from hedgerow cuttings and then reindeer from woodland thinning, the latter I think being the highlight so far.

Plans are being discussed for many different activities including coracling, banner making, creating Geocache trails, conservation work and wild swimming. We might even attempt the Weaver Walk one long summer’s day. Further ideas are always welcome.

A group from Leek College have been getting out on a regular basis, focussing their activities on the River Churnet and learning about its rich industrial past. Activities have taken place at Tittesworth Reservoir, in Cheddleton and in Oakamoor. Over the next few weeks they’ll be making paper with Staffordshire Archive Service, paying a visit to Cheddleton Flint Mills and making felt using Churnet Valley wool.

Young people from PM Training will soon be putting up barn owl boxes they constructed on a farm near Consall with the help of the Barn Owl Action Group. The trainees made two boxes that will be installed on solitary trees overlooking meadows and rough pastures.

A group has also been set up for 16 – 21 year olds. This group will meet most Mondays and occasional weekends carrying out practical conservation work across the valley. So far the group have been bashing rhododendron and coppicing hazel stools. The next weekend activity for this group is Sunday 17th March at Ballington Woods in Leek.

Keep an eye on the events calendar for upcoming activities, which include:

Saturday March 16th from 10am - 3pm is the next activity for 12 - 16 year olds and we'll be creating a Geocaching trail at RSPB Coombes Valley. 
Sunday March 17th from 10am - 3pm is the next activity for 16 - 21 year olds and we'll be thinning out trees at Ballington Woods.

For details about forthcoming activities or for more information please contact Martin Evans on 07530 489798 or email