It’s January and who doesn’t want to be a bit healthier?

But is the idea of the gym a bit intimidating or boring? Personally I find gyms a bit scary - daunting machines, strip lights and dull repetition, but thankfully my job gives me (and you!) a great alternative.

I find getting outdoors in the fresh air with our volunteers feels the opposite of hard work, whether we are clearing scrub, cutting trees or planting hedges. Time flies.

We chat and laugh, learn new skills, stoke the bonfire, eat cake and swap news of wildlife seen while we work at our own pace.

Some people get their heads down and their bow-saws hum with energy. Others lop at a more leisurely pace, taking time to absorb being out in nature.

Whichever approach suits you, the benefits of being in the countryside and the bonus of knowing that your day’s work helps wildlife adds hugely to the satisfaction from your day’s graft as you pack up your tools.

Whether your hard work is aimed at helping bats, butterflies or getting fit, doesn’t matter.

What is important, and hard to describe, is the unbeatable combination of contentment from feeling connected to the natural world and the buzz from working outside for wildlife.

If you would like to give it a try come along to one of our cake and conservation events.

You can try your hand at coppicing at our Lower Woods nature reserve, near Wickwar on Thursday, January 16, from 10am-4.30pm, when we will also wassail our restored orchard to encourage a good harvest.

There is another event at Westley Farm at Chalford on Sunday, February 23, from 10am-3pm.

We will be cutting back scrub to help the rare butterflies that live there, and the farm provides a simple free lunch for volunteers.

For both events all tools and training are provided.

For more information and to book your place please contact Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust on 01452 383333 or email

Happy New Year!