If you would like to support the RSPB by doing some voluntary work and learn new skills our group supports all three reserves in Cumbria. There are volunteering opportunities at the Visitor Centre at Campfield Marsh RSPB Reserve, Bowness-on-Solway, on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays welcoming and giving information to visitors to the reserve.

There are also outdoor jobs including conservation and maintenance work out on the three coastal reserves in Cumbria with the team on Thursday mornings, but on other days if you prefer survey work.

Each Thursday our outdoor team meets at 9.30am and we work until about 1pm. Most of our work is carried out at Campfield Marsh Reserve, North Plain Farm, Bowness-on-Solway, but we do get other opportunities to visit our other coastal reserves at St Bees Head(9.30am) and Hodbarrow, Millom(10am) as well. Any work you carry out will be to your own abilities. Once the work is finished for the day there is always time for some birding too.

The work is rotational according to the time of the year and includes clearing scrub, birch clearance, hedge laying/planting, fence erecting, gorse coppicing, ragwort removal, thistle cutting, reed and flower planting. We maintain the hides, viewing points and screens, ponds, ditches and paths. Also general maintainence, painting, nest box building and clearing at end of season. We also do bird survey work including a snipe count on three occasions from late spring and other breeding bird surveys during spring. Other surveys include winter visiting birds, dragonfly, butterfly, moth, bee and flower populations on the reserves.

All the equipment you need to do the work for the Thursday outdoor tasks are supplied as are protective gloves for the heavier jobs. You will need to provide yourself with wellington boots as some of the jobs are in rather wet areas. Also be prepared for the weather and bring with you warm clothes and water proofs, preferably old ones. Bring along drinks and food for the morning break and lunch. The RSPB warden is always on hand to show you how to do the tasks and use of the tools.

If you would like to give it a try you can contact the RSPB Warden- Mhairi MacLauchlan on 07783243748(mobile), 01697351330(Visitor Centre) or by email on Mhairi.Maclauchlan@rspb.org.uk or just turn up on the day.

For other volunteering opportunities such as meeting and greeting the public and giving out reserve information at the Visitor Centre at Campfield Marsh contact Marjorie Hutchin at marjorie.hutchin@btinternet.com or on 01900 825231.
A programme of weekly tasks for conservation work are listed below.


12th May
Snipe survey. Walking transects through the rushy eastern field to assess breeding wader numbers.
Meet opposite Glasson Moss entrance on the Bowness to Whitrigg road (NY 230 600) 9.30 am

19th May
Seat Construction-To put the finishing touches to the pond dipping bench in the Discovery Zone.
Meet at North Plain Farm(NY197 614} at 9.30am

26th May
Lapwing Survey-Using telescope and binoculars to survey lapwing numbers on the farm. Please bring your own equipment a small number will be available for use.(Task may change depending on weather but time and place will remain the same.

Meet at North Plain Farm(NY197 614) at 9.30am

2nd June
Bank Holiday- No work party.

9th June
St Bees Head Cliff top vegetation survey – A walk along the cliff top at St Bees head to assess the vegetation. Have a look from the view points as well at the seabird colony.

Meet at St Bees carpark at 9.30am.

16th June
Butterfly survey at Hodbarrow. A search around recently coppice areas to assess the botanical diversity and invertebrate populations. Finish at the hide for a chat with the warden and to see the tern spectacle.

Meet Hodbarrow reserve car park, at the end of Mainsgate Road, Millom (SD 175 789) 10.00am

23rd June
VOLUNTEERS SUMMER BBQ. Bring along a side dish, sweet or something for the grill to enjoy after a walk around the reserve.
There will be a walk as usual around the reserve in the morning or there may be some additional tasks for anyone not keen to do the walk. If just attending the BBQ arrive 12.30pm for the start of hot food. Even if you have not been volunteering for a while it would be nice to see you and a chance to catch up with everyone. If the weather is kind to us we will endeavour to have this event outside.

Meet North Plain Farm (NY 197 614) 9.30 am