Volunteer Story – Elisabeth Skinner
We asked our volunteers to answer some questions about their experience of volunteering with CPRE Gloucestershire and their thoughts on the countryside.
Q: What was your first connection with the countryside?
A: My parents met walking in Snowdonia in 1939. Ten years later they brought me, aged 3, with my baby brother to live in a village in the Stroud valleys. I was brought up roaming the hillsides and the woods around my home.
Q: How did you come to be involved with CPRE?
A: I have been teaching about the planning system to parish and town council clerks since 1990. The expertise of CPRE always impressed me and so I became a member. After I started working part-time instead of full-time in 2012, I joined the district committee for Stroud.
Q: What do you value most about the countryside?
A: For me, the benefits are physical, social and spiritual. I love walking over hills and valleys keeping in good health; I walk and talk with friends and family and I walk alone to raise the spirits. I am touched by the beauty of the natural environment and enjoy the strong community spirit of the village where I live.
Q: What’s your favourite countryside spot in Gloucestershire to visit?
A: My favourite walk takes me on the road from Sheepscombe to Cranham and then up into the beechwoods near Saltridge where I sit on a bench in memory of a close friend and take in the view towards Painswick and beyond. I then climb on through the trees and come out onto Sheepscombe’s Laurie Lee Field where I have spent some of the best times with people who love cricket.
Q: Tell us about some of the work you carry out for CPRE Gloucestershire
A: I am limited in the time I can give so I have chosen to concentrate on chairing district committee meetings, working with our excellent secretary when we need to write to the local planning authority and occasionally joining the debate at county branch meetings. It keeps me in touch with planning matters on the ground.
Q: What has your experience of volunteering with CPRE Gloucestershire been like?
A: I have met some interesting, like-minded people. Although I value the extensive experiences of many fellow volunteers, it has been a breath of fresh air to be joined by a university student on our committee.