Throughout the scheme, there are many opportunities to get involved with the different projects. We have many volunteering roles which will be available, such as:
Oral history recording
Archiving and research
Photography and film
- These opportunities will be promoted in a range of ways.
Please contact us if you would like to know more.
“I became a natural heritage volunteer for the Elan Links Project in November 2018, wishing to help conserve the special landscape, flora and fauna in the Elan Valley. I am so glad I did!
I received a very warm welcome from the start and have met some lovely, friendly people, both project staff and other volunteers who are more than willing to share their knowledge and expertise. For every field survey undertaken, volunteers have been provided with training from a number of experts in their field. The very first training session I attended was for surveying lichens. I have since gained knowledge and skills in identifying mosses, liverworts and ferns.
The summer brought opportunity to conduct meadow surveys, with a wealth of knowledge shared and botanical identification skills practiced in the field under expert tuition, including specific training in the identification of flowering plants and grasses.
I continued to broaden my experience further in botany by volunteering with the BSBI and joining my local BSBI group, through contacts made whilst volunteering with the Elan Links Project. I now have an increased passion and confidence to study and practice plant ID at home.
I have also developed a passion for peatlands. During 2019 I was able to assist with a number of peatbog surveys. I learnt how to conduct peat vegetation transect surveys, undertake peat depth testing, map erosion, determine direction of water flow and use GPS. This has been invaluable experience and enabled me to secure further training and experience in this area. I have loved accessing the remote, wild, open spaces that make up a large area of the Elan Estate. I think it very unlikely I would’ve visited these areas as a visitor. The surveys have deepened my connection with and understanding of these beautiful, special places. I have also learnt a lot about the wildlife associated with peatbogs.
Other training I have received and surveys I have assisted with have been for ring ouzel, golden plover, dunlin, and curlew.
Further volunteer training has included a Basic Mountain Safety 2 day course, an Introduction to GIS, and attendance of film/photography workshops.
March 2020 obviously meant volunteering had to cease, but I have continued to practice my field ID skills at home. I look forward to the day volunteers can return to the Elan Valley and continue with the project! Which should hopefully be sometime in 2021.
I would not hesitate to encourage anyone to sign up as a volunteer, it is an enriching and inspiring project, good for nature and good for the soul.”
“Having grown up in Rhayader, then lived away for many years, it had always been my intention to return.
The History of Rhayader and District and her people has long fascinated me, so I was delighted to become associated with the Historical Project of Elan Links.
My involvement has included:
Local History displays, taking part in meetings where local memorabilia are shared – (cf Show and Tell), helping to organise monthly speakers (unfortunately curtailed due to current restrictions), participating in Oral History Workshops.
Regarding the last mentioned, it has been my pleasure to record the memories of local people.
Currently I am transcribing Oral History recordings, finding them most enlightening.
Let’s hope that when ‘normality’ resumes, Elan Links projects will continue to flourish.”
“I have always been interested in local history and as I am in my last year of university, I had to choose a topic to write my dissertation on. My lectures on heritage sparked an interest in lost or forgotten heritage, because it’s something that we take for granted, however there are communities out there whose cultures, traditions and heritage get lost or forgotten without records of their existence. I decided to write my dissertation on the forgotten community that lived in the Elan Valley before the dams were built and focus on lack of recognition the community receives. I have lived in the local area my whole life and until I began researching deeper, I had no idea about the small rural farming community that lost their heritage when they were forced to leave. I decided to become a volunteer for the Elan Links project because I strongly support the aims behind certain objectives, including the better management and conservation of the heritage at the Elan.
During my time volunteering for the Elan Links project, I have been able to help with a variety of tasks. Everyday there is something different to do, so no day is the same! I have had to research transcribing equipment, proper headphones, camera/phone stands. I have also been more involved with the idea of creating a Rhayader town trail based in the Victorian period. For this, I have been in close contact with a small group of volunteers who want to organise and create it. I have had to research other town trails, research businesses in Rhayader in the late 19th century/early 20th century and find possible maps we can use for the leaflet. I have been able to meet new people, make new contacts and enjoy conversations with people who feel as passionately as I do about conserving the Elan’s heritage.”
“My passion is landscape. Elan Valley and the Cambrian Mountains are among the most beautiful places which I have ever visited, without a doubt.
There are many charitable organisations in the area, but very few of them encompass landscapes. Elan Links offers many different types of volunteering opportunities, which can help them achieve their projects in safeguarding the heritage and environment of the area for future generations.
My work experience is in accounts – I became AAT-qualified in 2000. I also obtained a degree from Wolverhampton Polytechnic back in 1982: BA Humanities (Hons), specialising in English Literature and French Studies, which occasionally comes in handy!
I started in the summer of 2018 by helping Eluned, the Scheme Manager. I transferred funding information onto a spreadsheet, so that it could be used for analysing funding opportunities, ie which trusts and funders support which type of project.
Once this piece of work was finished, my time was allocated to the newly appointed Cultural Heritage Officer, Stephanie. Many digital photographs have been taken of the Elan Valley Estate, and continue to be taken. Those photographs owned by Elan Links are being catalogued ready for inclusion in the new digital archiving system.
I have been busy cataloguing digital photographs since then. Early in 2019 I attended a day’s training on using the new digital archiving system. I have also done some work on preparing information about the Elan Valley School, ready for inclusion in the archive.
I do very small bits of the work necessary to record the cultural heritage of the area, but every little counts! I am satisfied by volunteering for Elan Links, as I am helping towards the overall success of the Heritage project. Plus I get to come up to the Valley once a week, which is just great!
The Elan Links Team are lovely! The place is lovely! The mission is outstanding! The projects are very worthwhile! So come on up to the Valley and volunteer!”
“My becoming involved as a Volunteer at Elan Links benefits both of us.
I am now a retired local resident with time available and an urge to try in some way to contribute to the sustainability of Elan’s traditional, nature-rich farming systems which are responsible for maintaining much of the fantastic nature and landscape to be found at Elan. I’ve always worked in the livestock farming sector and hoped that my knowledge and experience might be of some use to the team.
Meeting Natural Heritage Officer Matt Allmark confirmed it was and I now volunteer on the projects focusing on the landscape at farm level to promote Elan’s traditional nature-rich farming. These projects are designed to help secure the future of these farming systems and the benefits they provide for nature as well as Elan’s cultural heritage. I am becoming progressively involved in more favourable habitat management, more cows secured to graze targeted areas, a cooperative ram breeding scheme and the production of rhos hay – all designed to reinvigorate sustainable long-term practices that will help Elan Valley’s sheep and beef farmers.
Alongside engaging the farmers in the Natural Heritage projects I also make them aware of the Cultural Heritage project and the work Stephanie is doing to protect and share the stories of Elan Valley. She is recording the memories, artefacts, documents and photographs of the people who live, work and visit here, helping preserve them for future generations to tell the story of this special place.
I’d really encourage others to come along and meet the Elan Links team: there are roles for people with relevant experience and for others keen to learn new skills in the Elan Village office or out on the open hills. The coffee is free at the office where everybody is relaxed and very keen to welcome new colleagues!”