A former professional gardener turned volunteer street protector has spoken of the "warm glow" and "community spirit" that the work brings her.

Carol Chalkley is part of Friends of The Wick, a small group of like-minded nature lovers who give up their time every Tuesday morning to keep their corner of St Albans in shape.

The Wick is a nature reserve in the Marshalswick area of the city that often has trouble with overgrown trees, bushes, brambles and the impact of poor weather.

Yesterday (July 9) Carol and her team worked tirelessly to clear the footpath of Marshal's Drive.

Carol told the Herts Ad: "It's all about putting some love into a nature reserve that otherwise would be totally overgrown.

"If we didn't do this work, the pathways would be utterly inaccessible for residents."

Carol volunteers her time to look after The WickCarol volunteers her time to look after The Wick (Image: Carol Chalkley)

As well as clearing footpaths, the group also plant tree whips and generally maintain the area's aesthetic.

With council budgets squeezed, they feel a duty to step up for their community.

The 69-year-old explains: "We're a great community and we get on really well. It all comes from a common love of nature and we're always looking for new volunteers to join us.

"I think it's so important that we look after the areas that we live."

While the main motivation is preserving the nature reserve, Carol and her team feel a sense of pride when recognised for their efforts by fellow residents.

She explains: "At least one person every week comes up to us and says 'thank you for what you do'. It gives me a little warm glow and a belief in what I'm doing."

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The Wick was originally owned by Sir Arthur Copson Peak, who transferred the land to St Albans City and District Council in 1929.

It was officially designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1995.

The Friends are always looking for more volunteers to join their mission to preserve the area's natural beauty and safety.

You can find out more about them and get in contact by visiting http://www.friendsofthewick.org.uk.