Spring Conservation Weekend at Hazel Hill Wood

By Charley Miller | March 15 2019

Spring Conservation Weekend at Hazel Hill Wood

Blog Category: Volunteer opportunityBlog Tags: Children & Young People, Education and Education

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    I can’t believe that spring is here. Bluebells, primroses, hellebores and wood anemones are all poking their heads through the soft, wet leaves that cover the ground at Hazel Hill Wood. I am always excited at this time of year because it signals the start of our annual Conservation Weekends and the Spring weekend looks set to be a real treat.

    Conservation weekends at Hazel Hill Wood are a great opportunity for individuals, couples, and families to spend some nourishing time in the magical, 70 acre, ancient woodland just outside of the historic city of Salisbury. Falling on the 5th to the 7th of April this year it’s a particularly nice start to the Easter holidays for many families.

    The weekend gives you a chance to ditch the screen and go green. Leave your mobile and tablet at home, there is no phone signal anyway. Instead spend your days outdoors, immersed in nature, completing valuable conservation work to make sure this patch of ancient woodland is here and remains rich in wildlife for hundreds of years to come. There are tasks suitable for all ages and it’s a great way to get active and engaged in the outdoors. Some of the tasks planned this year include:

    • Woodland ride maintenance – raking up cut grass with the aim of maintaining and enhancing species diversity. Well-managed open spaces within woodland support a wide range of wildlife, from flowers to bees, butterflies to birds, beetles to bats and more. We are trialling a new, more sensitive method of managing the rides, aiming to reduce the negative impact of using heavy machinery that has been used historically.
    • Moving and stacking firewood – used to fuel the woodburning stoves that heat our off-grid sustainable accommodation. The firewood comes from Hazel Hill, so we are self-sufficient.
    • Site clear-up – collecting redundant tree guards from around the wood, ready to reuse or recycle.

    While conservation is the name of the game our weekends are always themed to give that extra experience to all involved. This spring we are looking at living sustainably. Lots of people are thinking about how they can lower their impact on the environment and are taking some really positive steps towards doing so. Recycling, using less plastic, switching to biodegradable cleaning products. There are lots of way that everyone can do their bit. At Hazel Hill Wood we go a step further as one of the aims of the charity is to promote sustainability and live as lightly on the land as possible. All of our buildings use renewable energy and are off-grid. There is no mains electricity, you can’t just turn the thermostat up to get toasty. Instead you can put a log on one of the many woodburning stoves that heat the hot water and radiators in all of our buildings. Before that though you may have to collect the wood and even chop it as we produce all of our own wood by sustainably felling trees in the woodland. This year we will be giving people the opportunity to learn about the environmentally friendly systems in place at the wood. You could be learning about Photo-voltaic systems (solar panels), rain water harvesting and composting toilets.

    There are also nature based activities planned throughout the weekend that utilise the knowledge and passion of our team. You can join us for an early Dawn Chorus walk through the woods for the opportunity to hear all the incredible bird life that call the wood their home. Stay up late for a guided bat walk and learn about the natural ‘highways’ that bats and insects use to move through woodlands.

    After all that you can spend time around the camp fire with new friends, sleep in the comfort of our woodland buildings or amongst the trees in your own tent. If this wasn’t enough, we always ensure that the wood powered Hot Tub and Sauna is available for a truly relaxing experience. Take part in as little or as much as you want and know that your contribution is going towards protecting this valuable parcel of woodland and supporting the charity to bring other groups to the wood who might not otherwise get chance to do so.


    Tickets are £75 adults/£30 children for camping, £100 adults/£45 children to stay in our buildings and a family camping ticket (2 adults, up to 3 children) is just £200. This includes all your meals, accommodation and activities throughout the weekend.

    For more information or to book contact Nicky at enquiries@hazelhill.org.uk 07943 666 292 or visit the website www.hazelhill.org.uk

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Charley Miller