Dozens of volunteers have been thanked for their efforts to conserve, promote and enhance Dartmoor National Park.
More than 40 people attended Dartmoor National Park Authority's annual Voluntary Warden meeting at Parke, Bovey Tracey, on Tuesday October 29.
The Voluntary Warden scheme is managed by the Authority's Ranger service. Volunteers help Rangers with their duties and advise visitors to Dartmoor. They play a key role in promoting enjoyment and understanding of Dartmoor’s special qualities and get involved in practical projects too.
Tuesday’s gathering allowed the volunteers, known as VWs, to swap ideas and learn about emerging initiatives such as developing ten new walking trails for the Welcome to Dartmoor project.
Attendees were updated by officers on issues such as flood alleviation measures, erosion control, pony welfare, rights of way and attempts to balance the needs of farmers and the environment.
The VWs were praised by Authority Chief Executive Kevin Bishop and Ranger Team Manager Simon Lee.
Simon said: “The annual meeting is an opportunity for voluntary wardens across the National Park to come together and receive some key messages, but fundamentally it’s to recognise the work they do and for us to say thank you.
“We have approximately 30 VWs, all parish-based, so each Sector Ranger has a few working with them and they help us with some of the essential bread and butter elements of our role.
“Volunteering adds a huge amount to what we can achieve, such as our Second Sunday group at Haytor where we regularly see more than 20 people turn out to help with conservation and environmental improvement schemes.
“Although we’re not adding to the VW team at the moment we’re always interested to hear from people looking to volunteer in other ways, details of which can be found online or by calling 01626 832093.”
One VW attending Tuesday’s meeting, Nigel Canham, said: ‘Volunteering on Dartmoor is a privilege. Very few people get the opportunities we do, to add to the Dartmoor story and become part of its fabric. I’d urge anyone with even just a couple of hours spare each month to consider getting involved. Whatever effort they put in, it will be rewarded a hundred times or more.”