Defence Helicopter Flying School trainees tidy up Corbett Wood

Trainees from the Defence Helicopter Flying School have been busy assisting Shropshire Council to maintain a popular walking spot, Corbet Wood, a Countryside Heritage Site at Grinshill.

Trainees from the Defence Helicopter Flying School who took part in the project
Trainees from the Defence Helicopter Flying School who took part in the project

The Defence Helicopter Flying School, based at RAF Shawbury provides basic helicopter training for the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. Trainees at the school learn how to fly helicopters in the military before being posted for frontline deployment. The 11 trainees from the school were participating in a community engagement project, which not only developed their leadership and communication skills, but also enabled them to support their local community.

Working under the guidance of Mike Smith from Shropshire Council and Ranger Rob Smith, the trainees worked on several tasks in the woods including clearing brambles and re-surfacing paths, litter picking and burning dead wood. They also cleared saplings from the rock face to expose the historic quarried area and removed holly bushes to free up the bridle way and paths. They even managed to create a wooden seat, cut into the side of the hill.

All the work done has helped tidy up the area, as well as make the woods more accessible for walkers. Trainees also helped with other issues including helping make the woods more accessible to walkers during the winter, as well as work to tidy up the car park.

Mike Smith said: “The trainees have been incredible. What they have achieved in a short space of time is amazing! This has included replacing all the wooden bollards in the car park as well as laying tons of stone to act as drainage on a path that was impassable for most of the winter months. They have made a real difference with their energy and enthusiasm despite the poor weather.”

Once the centre of a busy quarrying industry, as well as some copper mining. You can still see remains of old buildings, steps and other industry on the site. The woods are Geologists delight with several exposed rock faces. Now a popular local walking spot, the site has panoramic views towards Shrewsbury, The Shropshire Hills and The Wrekin, featuring a mixture of easier and harder walking routes.

Corbett Wood was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 2006, the area is an ideal habitat for wildlife with Coal Tits, Woodpeckers, Warblers and over 120 species of butterfly and moth have been recorded at the site. Volunteers from Corbett Wood and Grinshill Action Group are involved in helping maintain the site and can be found working there at weekends.