Volunteer programme helps parks authority maintenance challenge with "eyes on the ground"

The North York Moors National Park has established a volunteer 'adoption' programme to help it preserve a 109-mile national trail under its care.

First Marston Moor Scouts clearing drainage channels. Image: Tammy Andrews/North York Moors
First Marston Moor Scouts clearing drainage channels. Image: Tammy Andrews/North York Moors

The authority is calling on families and groups such as scouts and guides to join its Cleveland Way Adoption Scheme and ‘adopt’ a section of the trail between 2.2 miles and 6.8 miles.

The adopters are being asked to commit to a minimum of three patrols each year to report on the condition of the trail, record wildlife sightings and carry out basic maintenance such as litter picking, cutting back vegetation and clearing blocked drainage channels. They are given training and tools from the maintenance budget.

Family and youth volunteers Co-ordinator Tammy Andrews said: "There is regular maintenance carried out by volunteers dedicated to the Cleveland Way. We wanted to get families involved as well. They report back, it’s really helpful.

"The Cleveland Way is 109 miles long. It’s walked by the national trails officer and also by our maintenance ranger -  they cover all of it every year. But it’s quite useful to see things coming up, things they aren’t yet aware of. These eyes on the ground can report things quicker."

The 1st Marston Moor Scouts from Tockwith near York are now in their second year of patrolling a stretch of the trail, something which scout leader Andrea Cayton said had been "a fantastic opportunity for the scouts". 

"It has provided so many opportunities for them to discover how great the outdoors is. They have learnt practical skills, teamwork and an understanding of how and why we need to look after protected areas. Having a section of their own has given them ownership which makes them feel proud of the work they have done and it’s contributed to a number of scout badges."

Andrews said volunteers got satisfaction and a great sense of pride from helping out.

The trail attracts more than 350,000 visits each year.

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