Learn new skills and help your outstanding landscape

Due to the current coronavirus situation, all events have been cancelled. We hope to resume these but only when safe and responsible to do so. 

South Dorset Ridgeway (c) Rosie Mathisen

Behind every great view is the story of a working landscape with centuries of ploughing, herding, coppicing, hedgelaying, walling, planting … in short, lots of DOING. Although machinery makes the farmers work more efficient nowadays, there are still lots of jobs that are better done by hand.

With support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we have organised FREE Have-A-Go sessions for people to try their hand at some of the traditional countryside skills that keep the countryside looking good.

Fingerpost restoration

Fingerpost restoration has been taking off in Dorset with communities restoring these iconic local features with traditional materials and techniques to get them looking good and passing the test of time too. Try your hand at cleaning up, mending and painting the latest fingerpost projects at the Men’s Shed in Blandford on 30th April & 2nd May … you don’t have to be a man to join in! Event dates and detail

Meadow restoration

In Dorset we’ve lost 97% of our lowland meadows over the past 70 years, so every last acre is precious. We’re working with teh Countryside Restoration Trust to keep the meadows in the Marshwood Vale in good nick. Snipping, dragging and burning scrub make a real difference to the grassland species and the insects and butterflies that depend on them. Event dates and detail

Hedgelaying

Hedgelaying maximises a hedge’s benefit to wildlife as a bountiful home and a safe corridor. Best done in winter when the sap is low and before the birds start nesting, it’s an intriguing skill to learn with very satisfying results. Learn the techniques with a skilled trainer (no previous experience needed) this winter with regular work parties on the South Dorset Ridgeway. Event dates and detail

(c) Sarah Worner

Woodland management

Woodland management is another winter project where you can hone your sawing, cutting and tree planting skills to the benefit of woodland wildlife – and there’s often a fire and cuppa to warm you at the end of the day. Join the Allington Hillbillies at Allington Hill, Bridport to help create a Forest School area and see a demonstration of horse logging. Event dates and detail

(c) Nick Gray

River restoration

River restoration has also been taking off with small scale volunteer activities to reduce soil run off from surrounding land and to create better bankside habitat for river wildlife. Learn some watery skills on the River Asker near Bridport with Dorset Wildlife Trust, other dates continue into the spring and summer. Event dates and detail