If it’s Tuesday then it’s time to put my old walking boots on and take myself off to our local open space called Queendown Warren. It is now just over two years since September 2018 when, at a birthday party in the village of Hartlip, in conversation with a couple of existing Kent Wildlife Trust volunteers who suggested I could join them on their weekly visit to Queendown Warren. As a retired person, I had plenty of time on my hands and always had a mild interest in the great outdoors and the natural world around me. I had no particular knowledge of wildlife, plants or animals, however, this would not matter. I imagined that spending a day chopping up trees might soon lose its appeal but I was ready and willing to get involved with something that was new, healthy and voluntary. I turned up for the rendezvous on Tuesday at the due time in the car park, keen to join in the activities.
I was initially surprised to see there were about 20 people of all ages there. A couple of younger ones were trainees or students who were to move on, eventually leaving the main core of the team members as people of more mature years. It was the beginning of autumn and the tasks before us were coppicing of trees such as sweet chestnut and hazel and clearing of scrub undergrowth in Potters Wood. The wood adjoins the chalk grassy downland of the Warren together with the fields on the opposite side of the valley collectively forming Kent Wildlife Trust’s Queendown Warren Nature Reserve.