Patrol volunteer Juliet shares her experiences on returning to volunteering

Patrols 2020

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“Lockdown was the first time (apart from for holidays and illness) that I wasn’t able to patrol the Dells since I started volunteering for the trust. It was wonderful to get back along the river when restrictions were relaxed, but having read a lot of articles about littering and fly tipping in green-spaces becoming huge problems during lockdown, I was apprehensive about how the area might look! I was delighted to find that many people had been picking litter while walking their dogs and the walkway looked as lovely as ever, especially as the autumn colours came in, which have been stunning this year. It was wonderful to be back in the Dells and to know that so many people actively care about the river.”

Juliet

About Patrol Volunteering

Unnoticed by most of those using the Water of Leith walkway is one of our less recognisable volunteer teams in action. Normally to be found walking individually during daylight hours, at a slower pace than others, with a pen and paper in their hand noting who they pass from animals to human, keeping an eye out for fallen trees or invasive species that need tackling and any litter and pollution that have developed since their last outing are our brilliant team of River Patrollers.

They are the eyes and ears on the ground and through regular walks on a specific section of the river become quite skilful in noticing changes to the river. Through their regular patrol logs, they submit we can respond quickly to target hot spots of litter or problem puddles on the path with our Hit Squad group, monitor for pollution getting into the river and finally using their wildlife sighting to contribute to national biodiversity knowledge through submitting our results to The Wildlife Information Centre.

Over the last 5 years, the Patrol team has conducted 1400 patrols, clocking up over 2000 hours. Over this time they recorded 46,700 walkers, 7500 cyclists, 5200 runners, 90 horses and over 100 anglers. These charts help to show the steady increases in walkway use. Recording walkway usage has also meant we have been able to understand how walkway use has increased over time and which areas are popular with which user groups. If you are interested in becoming a patroller you can find more details in the volunteering section of the website. Here are some of the numbers from previous years 2020 will be different but I am sure the average number of users has risen considerably.

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