Quantock Hills Blog

A career in the outdoors? We’ve been planting the seeds…

- Volunteer Co ordinator Nichola takes a group of StEFE students from Bridgwater College into the Quantocks

Nichola Penn

Posted by Nichola Penn on 09 December 2013

A career in the outdoors? We’ve been planting the seeds… Over the past couple of months, a group of StEFE (Steps into Employment and Further Education) students from Bridgwater College have been getting to know the Quantock Hills.
The StEFE course is for 16-19 year olds at Entry Level who are undecided on their future career plans and would like to explore their options before moving on to vocational training or applying for work. The year long course incorporates both hands-on practical work and life skills, leading to personal development.

Programme Manager, Jane Taylor said “school life has been a negative experience for the group and so a visit to the Quantocks is a great chance for them to actually be themselves and to start to appreciate their surroundings. Please thank the volunteers that joined us and pass on how much the visit meant to the students. Having Moss, [the dog] was a lovely bonus as well!”

The group visited the Quantocks on 3 occasions; learning about how we manage the hills and even getting to do some practical scrub clearance on Cothelstone Hill. The visits culminated in having a bonfire to burn up some of the scrub that had been cleared, we finished by making bread and toasting marshmallows on the fire.



The first day we went to the Quantocks and we meet Nichola and the Rangers with Moss the dog. We walked up the hills and saw the Exmoor ponies and were shown what to do if one of them is hurt or ill. The rangers have to keep count of them, there are ten ponies.  Then we looked at the view and we could see the Wellington Monument. The next time Moss the dog came with us and we went to a different part of the woods, we cut down some trees and put them in a pile to make it easy for the horses to get through. then we  had to make the sticks smaller and shorter to make a bonfire.

After that we put the bonfire together and we had to get a stick and use a knife and put the bread dough at the end of the stick to put over the fire. I liked all of it especially working with Moss. The second time we went to Quantocks we were cutting down trees with the loppers for the small branches and the bow saws for the big branches. We went in groups of threes or twos and it was me and Nicki with a volunteer. We took turns using both loppers and bow saws. Nicki wacked me in the face with a branch by accident. Chelsea



I think the work we did on the Quantocks was very interesting and I enjoyed working with the other volunteers. When we got there I met Moss the dog and he was beautiful .We walked up the hill. I carried the Loppers. I cut lots of branches to make a massive bonfire. I melted a Jelly Baby.  We put dough on a stick and cooked on the fire. I enjoyed it. Can we go back please? Jordan



I helped to cut down the trees and put the branches on a pile. I enjoyed seeing the Exmoor ponies. It was good to meet new people and work with them. The work was new to me and something I would like to do again.  Shane



We did lots of stuff;  we used loppers and saws to put sticks on the fire.
We helped the Rangers by cutting down lots of trees with the bow saw and put it on the bonfire we all made toast. Big up the volunteers!  Harley



We went to the Quantock Hills to help the Rangers to cut down trees so the ponies can go in there to eat the grass. Rachal



I enjoyed working with the Quantock rangers. We cut up wood and made a fire with sticks we found on the ground. We saw Exmoor ponies. It was exciting and I liked making the fire and eating the bread. Shaun


The first day with the Quantock Ranger we walked up to see the ponies and we looked at all the different mushrooms. Then we looked at all the different views and that was lovely. We  had to check all the ponies were there. On the last day with the Quantock Ranger we cut lots of trees down and I was working with Chelsea to cut down the trees. We saw lots of trees and leaves, we used tools like loppers and bow saws, we cut down lots of trees and we had a hot chocolate.  We wore Gloves, boots and waterproof clothing (PPE personal, protective clothing) We learned about team work and to think about what others were doing and what the dangers were.  I loved going to the forest because we worked in teams, I loved cutting down the trees with Chelsea, I had so much fun in the forest.  Nikita

In the Quantocks we saw the Exmoor ponies and we were lopping off small branches and making a fire. Moss the dog was listening to me I was giving him instructions. We put paper and wood to start the fire and we cooked bread. I’ll go back again.  Marcus


Jordan: “I would like to go back.”

Rachal: “I enjoyed cutting down trees.”

Marcus: “Everything was good.”

Harley:” I thought it was sick!”

Nikita: “I learnt how to use a saw safely.”

Chelsea: “I wanted to stay all day because I loved being outside.”

Shaun: “I liked it all and eating the bread and working hard outdoors.”


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