Would you like to get involved with volunteering to help with a local conservation project?

The new ‘River Rangers’ volunteer scheme will be based at Westerland Valley and volunteers are being asked to help monitor local freshwater species and use online reporting tools to share findings, supporting local biodiversity. The River Rangers project has been created to allow local residents, community groups, schools and organisations to get more involved in caring for our water network.

The River Rangers scheme is part of the Westerland Valley Project which is being delivered by environmental charity Groundwork South working with Torbay Council and SWISCo. The project is funded by the national Green Recovery Fund.

Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “The work to improve Westerland Valley is a great example of partnership working and we are very keen to enable the local community to get more involved too.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “At the Torbay River Rangers, we want to work towards developing a more open conversation around the health of our local waterbodies and provide opportunities for strategic interventions and data collection to take place at a community level.”

In addition to the work the River Rangers will be doing, the Westerland Valley Project has supported ten Countryside Trainees (Kickstarter apprentices), who have worked on a range of projects including installing planters, clearing overgrown areas (including revealing a historic wall at the former reservoir), making ‘hibernaculars’ (creating areas of grass with holes in for slow worms to use), creating a large compost bin, planting trees, and other projects will include a ‘spiral effect’ wildflower meadow.

A former reservoir bought by the Paignton Waterworks Company in 1890, Westerland Valley is a hidden gem, off the Kings Ash Road in Paignton, next to the Great Parks Community Centre and a short step away from a local housing estate. It’s home to Brown Hairstreak Butterflies, Greater Horseshoe Bats and 24 species of bird.

Christopher Smith, Countryside Development Manager for Groundwork South, said: “Please do get in touch if you are interested in becoming a volunteer River Ranger. We will provide everyone who signs up with all the equipment and training needed to undertake freshwater species monitoring and they will also be given access to an online reporting system.”

How to get involved

For more information or to register your interest please contact Chris from Groundwork South at christopher.smith@groundwork.org.uk  

You can follow the Westerland Valley project on the Facebook page

Please note, the River Ranger scheme is currently only recruiting Rangers to undertake monitoring along the Clennon Waterway, Paignton.

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