Volunteering with Chase & Chalke: Simon Allsebrook

by Simon Allsebrook
8th March 2023

Simon Allesbrook

The Chase & Chalke Landscape Partnership Scheme talked to Simon Allsebrook, one of the volunteers working on the ground and helping the projects develop. Simon has been doing fantastic work across a number of our projects including Wonderful Woodlands, Nurturing Nature, A Crystal Clear Ebble, and Ancient Ways. 


Hi Simon, so were you involved with the landscape of Cranborne Chase before you started volunteering with Chase & Chalke? 

We moved to the Chalke Valley two years ago, and started exploring the many and varied walks with our dog. I quickly realised how varied the Cranborne Chase AONB area was, and was keen to learn more about the area.

The wide range of Chase & Chalke projects was the perfect solution – the only problem was that I was like a kid in a sweet shop and wanted to do everything all at once!


What has been the most interesting or rewarding thing you have learnt during your time volunteering?

I love the fact that every time I do an activity, I always go home enriched with new knowledge and something I didn’t know what I left home that morning. The most rewarding thing is the acquaintances and friendships that I have made with fellow volunteers, and the Chase & Chalke / Cranborne Chase AONB Staff.


What advice would you give someone who was looking to get involved with Chase & Chalke, but wasn’t sure where to start?

Just do it! Have a look at the website, find an area that interests you and then register and also talk to one of the Chase & Chalke team who will be able to help you get started.


How do you feel your work with Chase & Chalke has impacted the landscape?

On many of the projects we do like scrub clearance and hedge laying it is very satisfying to see the ‘before and after’. Also working with Roland (the Ranger) and James (from Natural England) who willingly share their wealth of knowledge and explain the positive impact of what we are doing.


Any other thoughts?

Volunteering with Chase & Chalke is a great opportunity to get out and about, meet new people, learn new skills and enjoy and contribute to the wonderful Cranborne Chase AONB.
Personally, I really appreciate the wide range of activities on offer which means that I can pick and choose different activities throughout the year including river and habitat surveys, Martin Down clearance, cycle and walk route checking as well as learning new skills on courses such as hedge laying, brush cutter and chainsaw training all of which are organised and provided through the Chase & Chalke projects.
Being a volunteer is fun and rewarding both mentally and physically in so many other ways, not least Ranger Roland’s legendary bonfire baked potatoes!


If you would be interesting in viewing the Chase & Chalke Volunteering and Training Opportunities, please register on the volunteer hub here. If you have any questions about volunteering or training, or would like to have a conversation about how you can get involved, please email chaseandchalke@cranbornechase.org.uk.