We asked some of our volunteers why they do it, and what keeps them coming back for more.
Why volunteer for CROWS? Sometimes I ask this when working in the Pennine rain! I love the physicality of it and it’s great that the experienced volunteers are all willing to share their expertise. I get a good workout and we have a lot of laughs when we are working.
The footpath network is a fascinating part of the area’s heritage, and keeping it maintained gives me a sense of achievement, even if we can’t always match the expertise of the builders of previous centuries.
I love walking and I enjoy working outdoors, so when I retired, I joined CROWS as a volunteer and from day one I was made to feel welcome.
Six years on I have learnt new skills, made new friends and my knowledge of local footpaths has increased tenfold!
I was walking through Hardcastle Crags, having only recently moved to Hebden Bridge. I saw people working on the footpath and thought ‘I would really like to do this kind of work’. I looked at their sign, then looked it up online and contacted them.
I joined because I wanted learn more about the landscape, paths, the history, flora and fauna. I wanted to do something useful, learn new skills and I prefer being outdoors!
The added bonus is that CROWS are a great bunch of people. I feel very lucky to be a part of this amazing voluntary service.
After decades of working indoors, I was determined to find volunteering opportunities that involved working outdoors and doing something really practical. Living alone I wanted to make sure there was a social element and in particular working alongside other like-minded people. CROWS fitted the bill completely.
I am a walker and felt I knew the pathways in the area pretty well, but work with CROWS has opened up a completely undiscovered landscape for me. An added benefit has been learning new skills such as step building and waymarking routes to make the countryside more accessible to others to explore and enjoy.
I am a regular walker and an ‘outdoors’ type of person. I joined CROWS to put something back into the moorland areas that I have long appreciated.
With CROWS, skills accumulated rapidly – clearing undergrowth, digging drainage, repairing stiles, installing revetment, constructing boardwalks, making gates, designing footbridges and building steps – but beyond this comes the sheer pleasure of working on tasks with other cheerful, energetic, like-minded volunteers. For me that started seven years ago . . . which just goes to show how quickly time flies when you are enjoying yourself!
“What else are you going to do in retirement? “Said Ginny during a Ramblers walk. “Don’t know” I said.
“I’m with Calderdale Countryside Rangers, why don’t you join us?”
“What do you do?” I asked.
“We load an old green van with tools, jump in, arrive somewhere in the countryside where we work on paths getting covered in mud, stung by insects, soaking wet in rain, burnt in sun, and suffer pulled muscles and aching backs.”
“Where do I sign up?” I replied enthusiastically.
A group of volunteers from Calderdale Countryside Rangers left to form CROWS in 2013. I was one of them. The rest is history!!
One of the great things about Calderdale is the accessibility of the beautiful countryside and the amazing number of public rights of way. I have spent many happy days exploring these and have come to really appreciate the work that CROWS do and so, when I retired from work, I was delighted to be accepted as a CROWS volunteer.
It feels great to be outdoors, doing something useful, learning new skills, meeting people with similar interests and being appreciated by so many passers-by who always have a good word to say about the work we are doing.