The Visitor Centre at High Woods Country Park (HWCP) is the home of the Colchester Countryside Volunteer Rangers (CCVR), a group who provide an invaluable and cost effective support to the Full Time Rangers with the management of HWCP and 15 other sites in and around Colchester.
This support has contributed to High Woods winning a number of Green Flag awards and enables visitors, dog walkers, walkers, cyclists and families to safely and comfortably enjoy their time at HWCP and other sites.
On joining, a volunteer automatically becomes a member of the group called Colchester Countryside Volunteer Rangers (CCVR) which is official recognised by Colchester Borough Council (CBC). The group is independent, has a Constitution and an elected committee. All members are covered by CBC insurance while on task day duty.
The widely varied tasks may include working on or off site on conservation tasks, inside the Visitor Centre, Monday Conservation group, in the Big Garden or being involved with Health Walks, carried out on set days under the supervision of a Staff Ranger. There is no obligation to the number of days or hours worked, whether it’s one day a week or one day a month, all time is valued. Working days generally commence at 10am, ending at 3/4pm depending upon time of year. On occasions extra help is needed to assist with special events, for example spooky Halloween walks and New Year ’s Day walk.
The personal benefits of becoming a volunteer ranger are wide, and include - working in a healthy, outdoor environment, gentle exercise, learning new skills, making new friends and overall satisfaction in making a significant contribution to the development and upkeep of some of Colchester’s natural assets.
Training days are arranged for new recruits regarding Health and Safety matters, working practises and general introduction to life at HWCP.
The volunteers are drawn from a wide cross section of the community covering a wide range of ages, male and female and a mixture of those working or retired. We also have a closed Facebook group which is open to all volunteers to keep in touch and share pictures of tasks and events. We also have social occasions during the year, which have included barbeques, coach trips and meals out at local hostelries!
The group raises it’s own funds to provide suitable courses both educational
and practical to enhance the members’ skills and knowledge. Past courses completed by volunteers include - woodchipper,
brushcutter and pole lathe training, identification of trees, fungi, moths, butterflies, insects and birds. Funds
are raised by the sale of firewood and products made by CCVR members such as nesting, bug and bat boxes and much
more. These are on sale in the Visitor Centre shop during opening times.
Also CCVR regularly have a stand at relevant local wildlife and country shows during summer, selling their wares, demonstrating the pole lathe, spoon carving and pyrography and promoting CCVR and High Woods Country Park.