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 working for wildlife and the countryside in and around Harlow.
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About HCV

   About HCV

Who are we?
Harlow Conservation Volunteers (HCV) is a group of volunteers who work for nature conservation in and around Harlow. Our aim is to improve the environment for wildlife, nature conservation, and recreation and to improve public access to the countryside.

HCV was founded in 1985 with the assistance of Harlow District Council and the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). We are affiliated to BTCV.

The group is also affiliated to the Harlow Centre for Voluntary Support, who have kindly provided space for our pages on their web site.

What do we do?
We do many conservation and management tasks including:

  • Managing trees, woodlands and hedgerows
  • Clearing streams and ponds
  • Reed bed, meadow, and heathland management
  • Building fences and hides
  • Improving and maintaining footpaths.

Of course, the tasks we do depend on the time of year. During the autumn and winter work includes coppicing, pollarding, hedge-laying, and tree planting. During the spring and summer we do wild flower planting, scrub control, build bridges, steps, and boardwalks, and even make charcoal.

We work primarily on nature reserves and public open spaces, but also occasionally on privately owned land.

To get a better idea of what we do, have a look at the photo gallery. To find out more about the sites we work on go to the sites section.


Tasks are usually arranged every fortnight on a Sunday. They last the entire day but your help will be valued for whatever time you can spare. The task leader will give you training in work techniques and safety. We provide appropriate tools, protective gear, and materials. The work is enjoyable and we have regular breaks for tea and a chat!

You will learn new skills and meet people willing to share their knowledge. You will see new places and make a very important contribution towards the conservation of our natural heritage. Hopefully, you will also have some fun and make new friends.

The group has third party liability insurance for volunteers on task.

Who can help?
The group involves people of all ages in its practical work. However, if you are under 12 years old, please bring an adult. No prior experience is required.

What you will need
Please bring warm clothes, boots or wellies, and waterproofs. Tea and coffee are provided but you will need a mug and a packed lunch.

Getting there
The group meets on site, and directions can be found in the task programme sent regularly to all volunteers. Many of the tasks are within a short cycle ride of much of Harlow.

New volunteers are always welcome.

Other Activities
The group has regular evening meetings to discuss future work which all volunteers may attend. Tasks are quite sociable in themselves, but occasional social get-togethers are arranged such as a barbecue, a walk, or Christmas lunch.

Whom We Work For

We mainly work for public bodies and wildlife charities. The group is involved with a number of regular sites and projects, including Parndon Wood Nature Reserve which is owned and managed by Harlow District Council. We do also carry out some conservation work for private landowners.

We welcome enquiries about potential new projects.

The group's main expertise is getting practical work done with volunteers. Although we may be able to help, conservation advice is best sought from Harlow's WildSpace! Officer for Harlow district, or from Essex Wildlife Trust for elsewhere in Essex.

Working With Other Bodies
HCV takes part in the Harlow Biodiversity partnership, which is intended to be a partnership between Harlow District Council and local conservation organizations and volunteers. An important aim is to produce a Biodiversity Action Plan.

HCV does not engage in political activity.


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© Website design by Andrew Tomlins and Mike Neeve. This page by Andrew Tomlins.
Last updated on 14 June 2004.
page URL: www.harlowcvs.org.uk/hcv/hcvabout.htm