A Students View

I recently completed a work placement with the BVCP, which formed part of my Level 3 Countryside Management course at Merrist wood college.

The staff at Blackwater Valley were very welcoming, patient and supportive throughout the placement, imparting their knowledge and expertise, which supplemented the techniques and skills I learnt about on campus.

The team made sure that I was able to get involved in a wide variety of tasks and use different tools and machinery to maximise the experience of the placement and made an effort to match tasks to the areas of the industry that I am most interested in. The Rangers also took the time to explain why specific tasks were being carried out and what the long-term management for each site entailed.

Chopping fire wood with Chris

Chopping fire wood with Chris

The tasks I carried out included path clearance, tree, barn owl and dragonfly surveys, coppicing, path and bench installations, hay cutting and much more. I was also able to use a number of machines including the ride on brush cutter, hedge cutter, strimmer and chainsaws after I obtained my license.

Joining the barn owl nest box monitoring

Joining the barn owl nest box monitoring

The placement gave me an opportunity to carry out tasks and use machinery in a real working environment in a way that is not possible/practical in the classroom. The placement has been an invaluable and enjoyable experience that has reinforced my desire to follow a new career in countryside management and one that I would recommend to any prospective students considering moving into the industry.

Student Adam G



About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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