The Peak District National Park has a number of features which are susceptible to damage. These include footpaths damaged by hikers to fences and walls which break down over time. The Peak District National Park, therefore, recruits volunteers for the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers.
The Peak Park Conservation volunteers, formerly known as the Peak District Countryside Volunteers are a group of people from a diverse range of backgrounds who undertake projects within the park. Many of the projects undertaken in the past are essential to the preservation of the park, though would not have been done without volunteers.
The projects themselves have included the maintenance of footpaths and other walking routes as well as building new paths. The construction of new paths and trails provides visitors to the park with exciting new opportunities to explore areas they would not have been able to previously. Paths often also help protect the environment as they keep all walkers on a given trail and prevent endless disturbances to local wildlife. Protection of wildlife is another area that volunteers are involved in. Projects may entail the production of birdhouses or tree planting. Of course, projects will vary significantly with seasons with the winter months providing fewer opportunities for volunteering.
Individuals can volunteer for projects themselves or can do so as part of a group. Groups that volunteer often includes those completing the Duke of Edinburgh award and require participating in voluntary work. The projects are led by a member of staff from the park ranger service that provides training and teaches volunteers how to use equipment properly. Volunteers should ensure that they bring suitable clothing depending on the time of year they wish to volunteer. Under 18’s must also be accompanied by an adult who should be prepared to offer supervision.
Group projects are also available which are also residential. These projects are often undertaken as team building exercises by businesses or by school groups. There are two accommodation centres consisting of Brunts Barn, and Marsh Farm. These centres provide accommodation in a series of dormitories. Brunt’s Barn can sleep 12 people, whilst Marsh Farm sleeps 8. Both of the accommodations are equipped with a range of facilities which include showers with hot water and a fully equipped kitchen. Visitors require a sleeping bag, a pillow, and a towel.
Both groups and individuals can apply to join the scheme by filling in a consent form. It is recommended that volunteers send in their consent form early, in order to gain the spot that they desire.