I started volunteering when I retired early and, free from working Monday-Friday, had time available.
Having always enjoyed walking, whether on Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Mendips or the Quantocks, it was an opportunity to combine this with making a (hopefully) positive contribution to one of the places I loved. Doing this within the structure of the AONB service and the amazing Quantocks team also means I am actually learning so much more about the things that shape the landscape; impact it both negatively and positively and how a natural environment needs to be actively managed to ensure it remains a healthy environment for the plant, bird and animal species that inhabit it. As part of this, I am also lucky enough to get ‘hands on’, helping the Rangers with vital, practical work.
I have always found that whatever is happening in my life, especially at difficult times, a few hours in the hills will completely change my perspective on life, positively refocus me and energise me and, whilst it would be lovely to say I volunteer for the noblest reasons and it’s all about giving something back, the reality is I get far more from the hills and volunteering than I could ever give.
By Dave Rogers