Lothians Conservation Volunteers in Roslin Glen

2013/09/30

This varied site is always popular with our volunteers. Its Ranger, Midlothian Council's Alan Krumholds, explains how LCV's input complements his own endeavours:

Roslin Glen's meadow and woodland (credit: Louisa Martin)

Roslin Glen's meadow and woodland (credit: Louisa Martin)

Roslin Glen Country Park covers approximately thirty hectares and lies within the steep gorge woodlands of the North Esk valley. It is owned by Midlothian Council and is managed by Midlothian Ranger Service.

As site Ranger, I am responsible for managing the site and its wide range of habitats. Working with volunteers to improve biodiversity and access within the park are two of my key objectives.

Over the last ten years I have had the pleasure of working in partnership with LCV on a vast range of projects and conservation tasks. These have included tree planting, path construction and maintenance, seeding wildflower meadows and woodland management.

LCV plays a vital role in implementing the management plan for the site and are among my most experienced volunteers, having the necessary skills to undertake all required tasks. LCV's work programme also fits neatly with the site's operational plan, in that I can book the group in advance and plan and prioritise tasks on a seasonal basis.

The thousands of volunteer hours which LCV have given to Midlothian Ranger Service are invaluable, not just at Roslin Glen but at our other sites such as Vogrie Country Park and Springfield Mill. Without LCV a lot of the management on these sites - such as improvements for access and biodiversity - would simply not have happened.

 LCV volunteer Charlotte at work. (credit: Louisa Martin)

LCV volunteer Charlotte at work. (credit: Louisa Martin)

James in action. (credit: Louisa Martin)

James in action. (credit: Louisa Martin)

As a Ranger I have a responsibility to ensure that all volunteers feel welcome and that they understand that their efforts will benefit both the wildlife of and visitors to Roslin Glen. So when I meet any new LCV recruits I will always deliver the full introductory sermon on what a great job LCV does and what a wonderful place Roslin Glen is. As an extension to this, over the years I have encouraged LCV to take ownership of the site and to feel part of the management process. This has taken time to develop and in my opinion it has been successful: LCV are now an integral part of the team.

In my time spent working with LCV I have come to know the group well and can direct them towards tasks which suit their particular skills. For example, Tony and Trevor are both pretty handy with a bow saw when there's tree-felling to be done. Willie and James are brilliant on path construction. Debbie - the fire-starter - can get a great blaze going on a cold winter's day and Matt, as the task organiser, is always at the end of the phone day or night.

LCV's sinuous dead hedge. (credit: Rachael Taggart)

LCV's sinuous dead hedge. (credit: Rachael Taggart)

Working in partnership with LCV has made my job so much more rewarding. I like to think that we have become friends and share a love of places such as Roslin Glen. That for the last four years Roslin Glen Country Park has achieved Green Flag Award status is surely a testament to this. Without the passion, dedication and hard work of volunteer groups such as LCV, these awards - whose judging criteria include conservation, community involvement and sustainability - would not be possible. Thanks guys - I'm looking forward to another ten years!