By: Blonde Two

You might recognise this sign.  Back in April this year, our volunteer youngsters worked with the lovely Ranger Bill to plant it in preparation for the busy summer season down at Deeper Marsh (Spitchwick).  It was hard work (not for us, for the youngsters) and they were very proud when they had finished.Spitchwick SignsSadly our sign didn’t grow, it remained where it was for a mere eight weeks before somebody decided that it would make good firewood and burnt it.  You only have to wander the beautiful common to see the damage that such fires and barbecues have done over the summer.  Areas of dead grass and limbs ripped from trees provide the main evidence.

I have to take my hat off to Ranger Bill, he is a man of much patience.  He and his team of volunteers work hard to restore the damage and when they have finished and the damage is repeated, well they just turn around and do it all over again.  His motto is “educate not discipline” and we had an opportunity to witness him do exactly that when we and our youngsters went back down to Deeper Marsh last weekend for some more voluntary work.

Our youngsters worked, under Bill’s guidance, on restoring fire pit areas, reseeding barbecue damaged spots and re-planting the “No Camping No Fires” signs.  They worked very hard and made an excellent impression on the members of the public that were watching.  Those that were there for the second time were very controlled in their response to the vandalism of their original signs and the damage to trees that they had worked on during their last visit.  I think Ranger Bill’s patience was rubbing off on them.

I imagine that nobody reading this blog post would even dream of lighting an open fire on Dartmoor or putting a barbecue straight onto the grass.  But have you considered helping out in a voluntary capacity yourselves?  You could, you know.  Give a bit back to the National Park that you enjoy so much.  Here is some information about how to do it …