Students have given a new lease of life to a community woodland area that had become so choked with overgrowth you could not get near it.

The students from Uxbridge College worked on The Grove in Hillingdon with staff from Hillingdon Council to clear the area so it can be used again. The group worked almost every day for three weeks in the nature reserve, uncovering paths you could not even see, chopping back greenery, and putting up bird boxes.

They strengthened fences on two bridges over the pond in the middle of The Grove, which is off Robinwood Grove, and also salvaged one of the reserve's signs from the water.

The students' work was part of the Key Challenge qualification, which develops skills in communication, teamwork, problem solving and learning. One of the students, Craig O'Donnell, 17, said: "It was hard work and at first we thought it would take months. But when the paths started showing we said: 'We can do this'. We have learned a lot about working together and it has been really satisfying to see the results of all our efforts."

The Grove was declared re-opened on 19 October when officials including Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for the Environment, Councillor Sandra Jenkins, toured the area with the group.

Councillor Jenkins, who gave out certificates to the nine students to commemorate their efforts, said: "Many thanks for what you have done - you have done a wonderful job."

Carolyn Bartley, course leader for Key Challenge, said: "It has been an excellent team-building exercise and they really have achieved a lot. As well as giving the Grove a terrific tidy up, they have learned a great deal about the importance of green spaces and keeping them maintained."


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