Introducing Tom Pope, our New Work Placement
We are delighted to introduce our latest volunteer, Tom Pope who has joined us from Cannington. Tom is required to complete a 160 hour work placement during the first year of his Countryside Management course and will be with us for one day a week learning about the role of the AONB unit. He will take part in practical tasks as well as a variety of office duties. Tom will be giving an insight into what he’s been doing through a regular blog, here’s what he’s been up to in his first 2 weeks:
My name is Tom Pope and I am currently volunteering at Mendip Hills AONB as part of my work placement for my college course at Cannington doing level 3 Countryside Management. I was born and grew up in Wrington which is a small village a couple of miles from the Mendip Hills. I have always been acquainted with the countryside and have had a genuine interest in it since I was young, as I am fortunate enough to have grown up surrounded by it. Growing up I was part of the Scouts and thoroughly enjoyed my time there as many of the activities were out in the surrounding areas largely including the Mendip Hills. I completed many activities’ that got me further acquainted with the outdoors including the Ten Tors. These were all factors in my final decision to start doing the course that I do. I started the course in September and have been enjoying it ever since. The course is very broad and covers nearly every aspect of countryside management; it ranges from estate management to ecology and the conservation of animal species. For the course I have to complete 160 hours of work placement in the first year and then another 160 in the second year. I feel that working at the Mendip Hills AONB will be beneficial as they also cover a wide range of conservation and countryside skills which will further improve my knowledge of this area.
So far at my time with the Mendip Hills AONB I have helped with a task in Burrington with a group of the regular volunteers. This consisted of dead hedging on the tops of Burrington Combe. Dead hedging is where branches and brush are collected and used to create a form of barrier or artificial hedge. This was to stop the cattle getting down onto the road and potentially injuring or killing themselves. The task started by collecting branches and brush from the surrounding areas and then laying it along the path down to the car park to stop the cattle getting down through the wooded area. In succession to that the volunteers plan creating a sliding gate along the path to further impede the cattle from getting onto the road. When we believed a sufficient job had been done we collected up the tools and headed back up to the offices.
Today I have been helping with some of the management of the tools. I was labelling the tools with blue tape so that they would be easier to distinguish from tools used by other organisations when members of the team are out doing practical work. Next week I am going to be going dry stone walling with a group of volunteers.