Participants of a new volunteering group are helping to care for a community woodland whilst reaping the benefits of getting outside and connecting with nature.
A group of volunteers have been meeting weekly to carryout woodland tasks at Griffin Wood located in south St Helens, Merseyside since the end of the summer. Tasks are varied depending on the time of year, but include such things as cutting back overgrown vegetation from paths and woodland management tasks such as thinning trees and removing weeds.
One of the volunteers, Tim, said: "Meeting up with a lovely group of people at Griffin Wood each Tuesday is a joy and something I look forward to each week.
"It's great to learn more about the environment and woodland management and how it benefits us all.
"I've found getting involved in manual work, like sawing and chopping wood, making habitat piles is great fun and helping my health and fitness."
The free, weekly sessions are part of The Mersey Forest's Nature4Health programme, a National Lottery Community Funding scheme to tackle health inequalities and reduce social isolation. Run by our partners Community by Nature,
the volunteers meet every Tuesday between 10am and 2.30pm, with the option for people to drop in for the whole session or just half an hour if they prefer.
Tim goes on to say: "Jim, the group leader, is very friendly and knowledgeable, makes great tea and even supplies the jaffa cakes!
"It's great to get out in nature, in the fresh air, in all weathers, with like-minded people from our community to do rewarding work that will benefit lots of people, most of all ourselves.
"The work to improve the woodland will benefit current and future generations of the community and, at the same time we are doing our bit to combat global warming and climate change.
"The woodland has been neglected in recent times and we have started the task of thinning areas of the woodland and removing invasive species. The improvements are significant and noticeable making the area much more inviting for people to visit. It's very rewarding to see the difference just a little work makes in a short time."
Find out more about the volunteering sessions and how to get involved