Volunteer Ranger retires at Severn Trent’s Carsington after 21 years

Tuesday 16th April 2019

One of Severn Trent’s longest serving volunteers is retiring after 21 years of service at Carsington Water.

David Bennett has been volunteering at the visitor site in Derbyshire since 1997 leading wildlife conservation projects and running a popular bird-watching walk.

The reservoir which holds water for Severn Trent customers across Derbyshire, welcomes thousands of visitors a year, and relies on the support of local volunteers to help maintain the popular destination.

Dave Drury, Ranger at Carsington Water said “Without our volunteers, Carsington wouldn’t be the place it is today. It’s the ninth largest reservoir in England, so we’ve really got a lot of space to look after, so the help we get from volunteers is really invaluable.

“David’s commitment to Carsington has seen him help setting up the Volunteer Ranger Service, leading on many wildlife conservation projects and as well as helping create five nesting sites for the elusive and threatened ospreys. 

“Along with this, he’s also delivered a guided birdwatching walk for visitors every month for the past 13 years, and hosted over 30 presentations to local groups and wildlife organisations.”

Carsington welcomes groups of local regular volunteers every week, as well as employees from Severn Trent as part of the company’s volunteering programme, The Community Champions.

The programme allows Severn Trent employees to take part in two-paid for volunteering days, ranging from working across one of its visitor sites or helping clean up rivers in its region.

“We’re really proud of Carsington, and a lot of time and hard work from people like David and our other volunteers is what makes it such a popular place for people to visit,” adds Dave. “Whether you’re into bird-watching, walking, sailing or even horse riding, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, which has been made possible through the great work of our volunteers.”

Volunteer, David Bennett, adds: “When I applied to become a Volunteer Ranger in August 1997, I never anticipated the vast variety of duties I would encounter in the next 21 years!“Back then we did not drive site vehicles – we were foot patrols keeping an eye on things. Checking parking tickets and litter picking were the norm, relieved by hay raking and a spot of reed cutting. I was always happy with tasks that involved the public, and my roles became predominantly birding orientated and the Beginners Bird walk on the 8th January 2006 was to become the first of 168 walks!

“If the bird walks were not my lasting contribution to the site, masterminding the installation of two new osprey nests, which was recognised by the Derbyshire Ornithological Society with their presenting me with the Annual award for 2013 for my significant contribution to Avian Conservation in Derbyshire.”

Bird-watching fans can visit the wildlife centre at Carsington, where they can spot many types of birds at such as Ospreys, Kingfishers, Grebes and Buzzards.

Visitors can also walk, run or cycle around the reservoir, or, if they prefer, get out on the water and take part in sailing or fishing.