Wear old warm clothes and boots or wellingtons. A fleece may
end up full of holes if we have a bonfire as hot embers can be
blown around. Long trousers are best, even in summer, to help
avoid getting ticks or bites. In summer bring a sun-hat, and
bring wet weather gear at any time of the year! Gloves are
usually available, but you will probably do better to bring your
If deemed necessary, you will be given a hi-viz vest to wear, but you can wear your own vest or jacket if you prefer.
Bring lunch and a hot drink if desired. Cold drinks and biscuits are provided. Our storm kettle is good for making tea, but we don't always bring it out. The leader should come round with the sweets to keep up morale.
You don't need to be exceptionally fit to come on a task.
Everyone works at their own pace.
A Safety Talk is given at the start of each task. This covers the safe use of tools, first aid, and any hazards on the site. Safety is everyone's responsibility; if you have any concerns, talk to the task leader or first aider straight away.
You must be at least 16 years old. If not, you must have a responsible adult with you.
We will ask you to fill in a form giving details of a next-of-kin to contact in an emergency, along with details of any allergies, medications and medical conditions that we may need to know about. This information is optional and will be kept confidentially for a year unless required. Please bring your own medications, such as anti-histamine tablets, if necessary. You are advised to have had an anti-tetanus jab.
There are two diseases associated with work in the countryside:
Most of the places we work at are out in the countryside. You should be prepared to go behind a bush if the need arises. This is much better than getting dehydrated by not drinking anything.
We try to ensure that someone from the client's organisation meets us at the start, to give a brief talk on the site, what needs to be done and why. Any restrictions on the work, such as no-go areas or special plants, should be pointed out. The leader will try and keep an eye on everything during the day.
Tasks start at 10am and finish at about 4pm. We stop for squash breaks and lunch. Most people stop at other times as well, since it's not a labour camp! You can arrive late and leave early if you wish. We try to put out signs from the meeting place, but the actual work site may still be tricky to find.
Our Transport Organiser tries to ensure that everybody who
wants to go on a task can get there. We may be able to give you a
lift from home, or we may ask you to get to a pick-up point by
public transport. Please book on by e-mailing or calling to say
if you require a lift or can offer one.
You can turn up without booking on, but there's always a risk that plans may have changed. Usually it is difficult to get all the way to a task by public transport, but we can arrange a pick-up from a railway station or elsewhere.
Tasks covering Saturday and Sunday may have overnight
accommodation in a village hall. This reduces the amount of
travelling and gives an opportunity for some social relaxation -
OK, a visit to the nearest pub, and the chance to rediscover a
card game or have a go at Farkle, a medieval dice game. You will
need a sleeping bag, lilo or camp-bed, and a change of
The evening meal is usually cooked in the hall. We pride ourselves on providing a proper dinner, there's definitely no beans on toast. Sunday breakfast and lunch are also provided, all for a fixed fee of £10, which includes a contribution towards the hire of the hall. We can cater for special diets if you give us notice. It is essential to book yourself onto residentials so that we can cater for the right numbers. If you fail to show up you will not be very popular as the caterer will have spent money which he or she is expecting to get back! We may have to cancel the accommodation if there are insufficient numbers.
Residentials are optional - you can come to the task on either day or both, join us for the evening meal or at a pub, stay overnight or go home, or even turn up for breakfast. Every combination has probably been done before!
You're not expected to come to every task. Some people come out once or twice a month, others appear once or twice a year. Quite a few people join then never come out, but this doesn't really help much. Come to a few tasks before parting with your money! If you join us but are unable to come out much, you can always make a donation to help cover costs.