The walls of the billiards room at Llanerchaeron would probably tell some tales if only they could speak, but it is doubtful they’ve witnessed, in such intimacy, the details of a City and Guilds brush cutter training course before. This was the venue, kindly loaned by the National Trust for the day, to a group which included some of Ceredigion County Council’s ‘Adopt a Path’ volunteers.

The course, funded by Ceredigion County Councils Environmental Control Team led by Rachel Mills and run by Andy Bakewell, was intense but fun with the morning spent getting to know the machines and how to maintain them, before moving outdoors after lunch for the practical work.

Rachel, who administers the Local Environmental Quality funding, has an Aladdin’s cave of tools and equipment available to loan to any community group or individual volunteer who wishes to make use of them. This includes all the usual hand tools for gardening activities, more specialist items such as USB microscopes and Trail Cams as well as litter picking equipment and drills.

Things such as hedgetrimmers, strimmer’s and stem injecting equipment can also be lent to suitably qualified volunteers, and it’s for this reason that some of the Adopt a Path volunteers are receiving training. Once the volunteers have this certificate, they will be able to borrow brush cutters from Rachel to help them with maintenance on the paths they have chosen to look after, as well as other community work they are involved in.

Jill Lowry is Ceredigion County Council Community Access Officer overseeing the Adopt a Path Scheme volunteers, said: “As a team we are very grateful to all our volunteers for giving their time, to help keep Rights of Way accessible for the public. We’re also indebted to Rachel for her ongoing help in upskilling those volunteers and loaning tools to do the job correctly and safely.”

Rachel holds a small amount of funding each year to put on relevant courses for volunteers who are actively engaged in environmental activities. She is open to suggestions and requests for training that fall within this remit, so if you, or someone you know, are involved in voluntary community work and need to either get some training or borrow equipment, then Rachel is a good place to start. She can be contacted on 07870 275241 or email

Image: Rachel with the volunteers on the brush cutter training course.