Grab your gloves and volunteer in the countryside

Giving back to your community

If you love nature and care about your local environment, why not consider giving countryside volunteering a try.

Exercising whilst socialising in the great outdoors with enthusiastic, like-minded people has recognised widespread health and wellbeing benefits and of course, supports the seasonal management of Surrey's glorious local countryside too.

The Surrey Countryside Partnerships team carry out targeted habitat management work including scrub clearance, invasive plant species control, pond maintenance and traditional coppicing to maintain and restore local countryside sites and their rare habitats. From scrub clearing and signpost making to sheep checking, there's something for everyone to get involved with in their local area.

Last year, volunteers clocked up a total of 24,750 hours volunteering with the Surrey Countryside Partnerships' team, which works with its partners on over 100 different countryside areas for the benefit of biodiversity, wildlife, public access and enjoyment by all.

What is involved?

We know life is busy for many people and not everyone can make volunteering commitments, but the good news is if you choose to volunteer with one of the Surrey Countryside Partnership conservation crews, you can join scheduled task sessions as often as you like, for full or half days – whatever works for you. The majority of volunteering task sessions are offered during the week on Mondays to Thursdays.

Tea, coffee, biscuits, gloves and all tools are provided, along with full guidance and lots of support from the task leaders and regular volunteers. You need to take a packed lunch if staying all day and a bottle of water. It's also important to wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.

The Downlands Partnership team in particular are very keen to welcome new volunteers to join their weekly task sessions and friendly conservation crew, so please do get in touch with them if you want to try countryside volunteering in the NE Surrey area.

What do some of their current volunteers enjoy?

Robert's story

"I've been volunteering at the farm since I retired last March 2022. Having worked in an office for many years, work on the farm was completely different to me. I thoroughly enjoy the variety of tasks and working with the other volunteers, staff and visitors to the farm. I'm looking forward to my second year and building on the new skills that I have learnt. Who knew I would be carrying out 'MOT's' on sheep in my retirement?"

Heather's story

"Volunteering provides the opportunity to be a flexible but proactive member of an enthusiastic nature loving group of people. We achieve by implementing new skills, following advice from the professional task leaders and enjoying the camaraderie and humour of our fellow colleagues. If you have stamina and wish to be fulfilled and challenged, why not join our dedicated team. Many rewards and surprises await! Don't miss out."

Keith's story

"After retiring, I began my new 'career' as a conservation volunteer and I've never regretted one minute of it. OK, sometimes it's cold and wet and maybe the tasks aren't always as 'glamourous' as they might be, but each one is very necessary and they are extremely varied. They range from coppicing, hedge laying, heathland restoration, path clearing and construction, fence installation, furniture and signpost construction and installation and preparation of grazing areas for cattle, to name but a few. And we cover a fairly large area while working for and in conjunction with, various other conservation organisations and local authorities.

I enjoy this work and hope to continue it for many years. I believe that social interaction (in real life rather than over the internet) is extremely important and through volunteering, I've met a lot of interesting, like-minded people from assorted backgrounds, made new friends and learned a lot of new skills. I also get a lot more fresh air and exercise than I ever did while 'driving a keyboard'.

Find out more

Please visit the Surrey Countryside Partnerships' webpages for full team information, the latest seasonal volunteer task sessions on offer to try and links to their social media accounts.

You can sign up to their quarterly e-newsletter via the subscribe button at the bottom of their homepage, to keep up to date with all their latest team news and volunteering opportunities.

Get in touch with the team by email:

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