Who we are and what we do.

What is BCV?

Bolton Conservation Volunteers (BCV) is a self-funding not-for-profit organisation based in Bolton, Lancashire and was established in May 1976 by a group of Bolton residents wanting to care for and maintain Bolton's natural habitats and wildlife. BCV has since grown to be one of the oldest and most respected independent conservation groups in the country. Our work regularly takes us across Lancashire, Salford and Manchester with organisations such as Salford Ranger Service,  Bolton Council Woodland Section, the Amphibian and Reptile Group of South Lancashire, and

United Utilities. We also provide practical assistance and advice to residents groups, schools and landowners wanting to help wildlife in their local environments.

For the last 27  years BCV has been led by Rick Parker. Rick has worked in conservation for many years and as well as being an authority on ponds, newts and dragonflies he is also an accredited member on the National Hedge Laying Society. In 2008 Rick won the Bolton News Green Heroes Award for  'Greenest Individual' thanks to his many years of dedicated conservation work. In September 2015 Rick was awarded the Points of Light Award by the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP Prime Minister for outstanding volunteering work.

Our other group members also have an extensive collective knowledge of wildlife and environmental issues and are regularly featured in the local press.  In 2007 Bolton Conservation Volunteers won the Bolton News Green Heroes Award for 'Greenest Community Group', and in recent years we have been nominated for the Queen's Award for Volunteering.

Our work has resulted in many success stories: common tern have bred for the first time at Rumworth Lodge and Bleackleach Reservoir, Salford, thanks to our tern habitat projects; we pioneered the use of new and innovative methods for planting reedbeds - reedbeds planted at Doffcocker Lodge and Blackleach are now home to reed warbler and reed bunting; we have created over 250 new ponds and devised a now widely used technique for counting newt populations; we hold an annual hedge laying competition in memory of Dr John Leather a Bolton GP who championed hedge laying in Bolton and inspired many people to take up this traditional countryside skill.

In addition to our practical conservation work there is also a walking group, BCV Rambles,  which meets every two months for walks around some of the Northwest's beauty spots.

Why Volunteer for Wildlife?

Conservation projects are costly and labour intensive, Groups such as BCV provide the much need skills and manpower to allow conservation groups, schools and other organisations to achieve their goals of preserving the country's biodiversity with the limited resources they have. Our natural habitats and wild species are under increasing pressure  from land use, pollution and our changing climate.

The ecological connections between species locally, nationally and globally are complex and what affects a small part of our world also affects the world at large. By protecting our local environment we also protect our global future.

Volunteering is fun, enjoyable, and interesting. You will learn new skills and ancient skills, you will get to visit places on your own doorstep that you didn't know existed. It is also a good way of keeping fit and making friends with people who share a common interest.

We are an equal opportunities group with an established Code of Conduct and we welcome people of all ages and backgrounds. It costs nothing to join us and no experience is necessary as all training is provided on task. We also have qualified first-aiders and a tools safety officer to ensure none of our volunteers come to harm. Please see our Tasks and How to Join page for details of our planned work programme.

To get involved contact us via our Contact Form or contact Rick Parker on 07908084709. Alternatively, if you have any conservation tasks that you think may be of interest to us please get in touch with us via the same methods of contact .

The Work We Do

BVC carryout practical conservation work:

Bank erosion management
Bat / bird box building
Dam building
Dry stone walling
Dune restoration
Hedge Laying
Hedge planting
Pond creation and restoration
Reed bed planting
Rhododendron clearance
Scrub clearance
Tern raft building
Tree planting
Wetland management
Widlife gardens
Wild flower planting
Willow coppicing
Woodland management

BCV have worked at the following sites:

Anderton Conference Centre, Anderton, Chorley
Joan Meadow Wood, Anglezarke, Chorley

Astley Moss SSSI, Astley
Barlow Park, Edgeworth, Lancashire
Barrow Bridge, Bolton
Belhouse Lodge, Daisy Hill, Westhoughton
Belmont Reservoir, Belmont
Belthorn Village, Blackburn
Blackleach Country Park, Walkden, Salford
Bridge Street, Horwich
Captains Clough, Halliwell, Bolton
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
Chew Moor Meadows, Westhoughton, Bolton
Clifton Country Park, Clifton, Salford
Clifton Moss, Salford
Coed Pen-Y-Maes wood, Holywell, North Wales
Colliers Row Wood, Colliers Row, Bolton
Cowlees Pond, Westhoughton, Bolton
Cox Green Quarry SBI, North Bolton
Darcy Lever Gravel Pits, Darcy Lever, Bolton
Deane Clough, Deane, Bolton
Doffcocker Lodge Local Nature Reserve, Bolton
Eatock Lodge Local Nature Reserve, Westhoughton, Bolton
Entwistle Reservoir, Entwistle
Ewood, Blackburn
Fanpits Cottages, Chorley Road
Firwood Fold, Bolton
Gait Barrows SSSI, Arnside, Cumbria
Georges Wood, Bury
Gronant Dunes and Talacre Warren SSSI, Talacre, Flintshire
Hart Common Church, Westhoughton, Bolton
Jumbles Country Park
Kearsley Moss. Bolton
Kirklees Park, Bury
Leg of Mutton Wood,Smithills, Bolton
Moses Gate Country Park, Moses Gate, Bolton
Moss Brook Farm, Warrington
Nob End SSSI, Moses Gate, Bolton
Orrell Water Park, Wigan
Ouzels Nest Quarry, Egerton
Pennington Flash Country Park, Leigh, Wigan
Raikes Lane Clough, Moses Gate, Bolton
Ravenden Clough, Smithills, Bolton
Ravenswood, Ladybridge, Bolton
Red Moss SSSI, Horwich, Bolton
Rixton Clay Pits SSSI, Warrington
Rivington Pike Ornamental Gardens, Rivington, Bolton
Rumworth Lodge, Lostock, Bolton
Spring Meadow Woods, Egerton
Seddon Fold Farm, Lostock, Bolton
Seven Acres Country Park, Breightmet, Bolton
Smithils Estate, Bolton
Turton Tower, Turton, Bolton
Walker Fold, Bolton
Wayoh Reservoir
Wigan Flashes Local Nature Reserve, Wigan
Wilton Quarry, Belmont.
Wilders Wood. Horwich.
Worsley Woods, Worsley, Salford

BCV have worked with many individuals and organisations over the years:

Amphibian and Reptile Group of South Lancashire
Anne and David Welding
Barlow Institute, Edgeworth, Lancashire
Bolton Council
British Mountaineering Council
Croal Irwell Ranger Service
Cumbria Wildlife Trust Woodland Trust
Darcy Lever Gravel Pits Action Group
Deane Golf Club, Deane, Bolton
Flintshire Countryside Service
Lostock and Chew Moor Residents' Group
Red Lee Conservation Trust
Salford City Council
Unicorn Land Project
United Utilities
Walmsley Unitarian Chapel, Egerton
Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside
Wildlife Trust Mid-week Group
Woodland Trust


Blackrod Primary School
Beaumont & St Bernards Schools
Canon Slade School
Clevelands Preparatory School.
Eagley Junior School
Heathfield Primary School
Horwich Parish CE Primary School
Ladybridge Primary School
Rivington & Blackrod High School
St Michael's Primary School
Turton & Edgworth CE Methodist Primary School

More details of the work we do for schools can be found on the School Projects page.