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Combe Grove Volunteering Club

With education, wellbeing and land stewardship all at the core of our ethos as guardians of the Combe Grove Estate, we are pleased to launch The Combe Grove Volunteering Club.  One of the unique benefits of membership to The Club at Combe Grove is the opportunity to share in our work and learning.

Regeneration

One major project in regenerating the estate is reinstating the dry-stone wall that surrounds Quarry Woods. Regaining the structural integrity of the wall is important to us in preserving the estate.  The project is being led by Dermot West, a local landscape gardener and experienced dry-stone waller from nearby Frome.  Dermot is working with Estate Manager Lewin in mentoring the estate team apprentices who have been learning the art of walling as part of their enhanced learning.

Volunteering

Now that government restrictions allow, we are delighted to launch The Combe Grove Volunteering Club and invite members to take part and learn a new skill. Volunteering has been demonstrated to benefit personal wellbeing and the social aspect of volunteering is a great way to connect with others safely as we come out of lockdown.

The Volunteering Club launched on 29th March and this project is a great opportunity for members to learn from Dermot in a safe and healthy environment. Working alongside our apprentices, you will get to meet other members and work alongside our team as part of the Combe Grove community.

“The experience of working on the dry-stone wall has been unique, unlike anything else we have done at Combe Grove. We are really enjoying learning the traditional ways of dry-stone walling directly from Dermot, who is very thorough, knowledgeable and a great mentor to us. His motto is, “The thing of beauty is a joy forever”. This is something we are seeing daily as the wall takes its form. We are proud to be part of this project at Combe Grove, not only to showcase traditional building methods but also to be part of something that will be appreciated for years to come.”

 Lauren and Joel, estate apprentices

 

Dry-Stone Walling

Dry-stone walling as a traditional technique that has been around for the last 5,000 years, dating back to the Neolithic period. This craftmanship helps bond heritage to the landscape in a beautifully aesthetic and ecological way. Dermot and the Estate Team are stripping and rebuilding the dry-stone walls from the foundations, working around the curvature of the land, reducing the need to remove or destroy any existing trees or flora.

Ecology

In keeping with our ecological principles, dry-stone walling also provides habitat for many species of lichens, mosses and liverworts. When maturing, unlike regular stonework, dry-stone walls form small holes that allow for wildflowers, amphibians, and other small mammals to seek protection, hibernate, and find safe haven.  Rebuilding the dry-stone wall in the spring assures that all of these mammals will be free of hibernation with no disruption to their seasonal calendar will occur.

Becoming a Combe Grove Volunteer

Take part for a morning, an afternoon or spend a day on the estate and enjoy a healthy lunch of fresh bread and homemade soup.

Volunteering will be available every Tuesday and Wednesday.

What to wear when dry-stone walling

Please wear heavy duty footwear, long trousers and work gloves and please bring safety goggles.  Hammers and other tools will be provided. There will be a nutritious lunch served straight from the Combe Grove kitchen.

If you would like to play a part in helping restore the estate whilst learning a new skill, then please drop an e-mail to thevolunteeringclub@combegrove.com