1st May 2021

It has been wonderful to see so many people enjoying their local walks and countryside, as well as helping and caring for our green spaces. Sadly, a big clear-up has been needed across the region, and we would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those who have collected litter, kept our rivers healthy, looked after wildlife and done an amazing job to keep the Colne Valley Park looking beautiful.

Here are a few of the many people making a real difference in the Park to benefit the environment, people and wildlife.

Meet Mirza Ryon Rashid, our conservation trainee 

who tells us more about enjoying his role caring for the Colne Valley Park and inspiring others to get involved. 

Mirza is an enthusiastic addition to the Colne Valley Park team and he is already adding real value to our projects, helping communities to connect with their local countryside and rivers.

He tells us more about his role and his hopes to inspire more young people to connect with nature…

“With my passion for wildlife and being surrounded by such enthusiastic people (from an acceptable distance, of course), it’s hard not to really enjoy my role from balsam bashing and river fly surveys to writing articles and making fun, wacky educational videos. Working in Colne Valley has not only given me a lot more practical experience, but the freedom to express my creative ideas. I hope to gain project management skills, lead a volunteer day and tune my nature ID skills. I’m looking forward to making the most of it!”

This picture shows Mirza running a river workshop and inspiring people to learn more about the wonders of our rivers and their wildlife.

My advice to young people is to find a nature reserve on a sunny day and just walk around. You’ll love Nature almost immediately, and you’ll be surprised at how much there is to offer. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting out there and immersing yourself in what Mother Nature has in store for us – especially in London. It’s great for you mentally, socially and physically – and your eyes will thank you for taking a break from the iPad.”

If you know anyone passionate about wildlife and the environment, please tell them about our website and social media pages, so they can learn more about what we do, and get involved, too.

Meet Debbie Bull from Uxbridge

who proactively shares the joys of walking in the Colne Valley and beyond and is a member of “Hillingdon Litter Pickers”.

Debbie loves her local wildlife and countryside walks and what started as a bit of ambling, has now become quite a big job of helping to share the wonderful local green spaces and walks, with the creation of a Facebook page called “Ambling around Uxbridge” (with over 500 members). Debbie has also become an active member of the popular and hardworking “Hillingdon Litter Pickers” group and is now not only just enjoying many natural spaces but caring for them too.

She tells us more:

“As a busy lady, with a demanding full-time job and a dog, before COVID I had little me time.

With the lockdown, working from home and not being able to do much else, I rediscovered walking and the beauty on our doorstep.

I was looking for inspiration, as there are only so many walks I knew of. So, along with my sister, and more importantly her friend Pat, who had a dream of a walking Facebook page, Ambling around Uxbridge (Uk) … and beyond was born – the Colne Valley walks truly are personal favourites for myself. Rickmansworth all the way down to Staines are all amazing walks. One of my favourites is the Harmondsworth Moor walk, so much space for social distancing and you could be in the middle of nowhere! Hard to believe you are next to the UK’s busiest Airport. Look out for Views of Windsor Castle and The Wembley Arch, as well as wild Rabbits, Muntjac and a great array of birds, including Hobbies if you are lucky. It truly is such a special place.”

Harmondsworth Moor one of Debbie’s favourite walks.

These are two groups sharing specific walks to the area where they live for other people to try and enjoy. They are a great way to encourage us to walk and explore our local countryside and rights-of-way.

And of course, don’t forget to see our walks page for more inspiration.

Meet Samantha McCormack

who lives near to Denham Country Park and gave her time last year to become a volunteer ‘Cattle Checker’ and help us with our conservation grazing project.

Sam tells us more, “During lockdown, like most of us, I was stuck for something worthwhile to do in my spare time.  I noticed an advert on Twitter asking for people to help, so I signed up, attended online training and committed to checking on the cattle once a week. This involved counting there were the correct number of cows in the park, checking their water pump and fencing and that all the cows were healthy

It was fascinating to see the cows use their head to push the pump and get more water! I would recommend volunteering as you’re helping the community and without volunteers a substantial number of projects wouldn’t get off the ground. It’s also an opportunity to make new friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed this voluntary role, as it encouraged me to get out more and leave the car behind whilst doing something worthwhile for biodiversity. Checking on the cattle and walking more has led to the discovery of stunning areas I never knew existed, and I have lived in this area for a number of years.

Follow us on social media and check our website regularly to see what new volunteering roles come up this year.

Find out more about Conservation Grazing and how you too could sign up to become a Cattle Checker here.

Meet Andy Thomas

from the Ivers – Volunteers at Work Group, who’s written a whole article about the group and why he enjoys looking after his local environment, which you can read here.

It has been wonderful to see so many people enjoying their local walks and countryside, as well as helping and caring for our green spaces and we would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those who volunteer and have collected litter, kept our rivers healthy, looked after wildlife (and cows) and done an amazing job to keep the Colne Valley Park looking beautiful.

What You Could Do

If you would like to get involved with volunteering with us, read more here

If you would like to help, but volunteering is not your thing, please consider making a donation or becoming a “Friend” of the Colne Valley Park, as your support is highly valued in helping us to enhance and protect the Park. Read more about becoming a ‘Friend’ and the many benefits here  and our donation page is here.

Support the Colne Valley 

Did you know the Colne Valley Regional Park relies on donations and grants in order to be able to look after this precious countryside? If you have enjoyed your time in the Park recently  we would be extremely grateful for any support no matter how big or small to help us with the work we do.