Volunteers help improve an area of the Peak District

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A group of students have stepped forward to improve an area of the Peak District as part of their commitment to making a positive impact on the environment.

The volunteers are part of the University of Chester’s Welly Wednesday project that encourages students to become more involved with outdoor volunteering. Each month an activity is organised that will benefit both the community and the environment.

Rhianydd Stock and Cerith Pierce in the Peak District with fellow student volunteers from the University of Chester’s Welly Wednesday project.
Rhianydd Stock (third/fourth from left with arms up) and Cerith Pierce (first on right) in the Peak District with fellow student volunteers from the University of Chester’s Welly Wednesday project.

The idea of volunteering in the Peak District came from a suggestion by the students to take Welly Wednesdays out of the city and to raise its profile in conservation circles. After carrying out research the group discovered a volunteering programme in the Peak District and got in touch.

The group helped with building steps on a footpath near the Wincle Brewery in the Peak District, in an activity organised by the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers.

The Welly Wednesday project is a student-run volunteer project, led by two students Rhianydd Stock and Cerith Pierce, who are supported by the University’s Volunteering and Mentoring Team.

The students built steps that transformed a rather steep muddy challenge into an easily navigable footpath for walkers and their dogs. Dave Cramp of the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, facilitated the day where the students helped to improve the footpath rising above the River Dane.

Using spades and mattocks the team dug steps into the mud before placing, pinning and stapling treated timber to shore up the steps.

Rhianydd said: “We wanted to expand our network and volunteer with groups beyond the Chester region. The Peak District was a chance to get out of the city and enjoy the outdoors at its best.”

Jo Morison, Volunteer and Mentoring Manager at the University of Chester, said: “We’re so proud to see our students making such a difference to the environment. “Welly Wednesday activities are such a great way to bring people together and learn new skills with the added bonus of a positive outcome at the end.”