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Downlands Partnership - volunteer task programme

The Downlands Partnership works with volunteers to carry out countryside management work across NE Surrey (Tadworth to Tatsfield) and in the neighbouring boroughs of Croydon and Sutton.

Why not join us in this valuable and enjoyable work by checking out our current volunteer task programme to see what great countryside volunteering activities we have on offer to try this autumn season during October to December 2018.

There is a great selection taking place across the partnership area, from scrub clearance to ponds maintenance to hedge planting, as well as popular traditional woodland coppicing.

We recommend trying a scrub clearance task first if you are new to practical conservation work, but all tasks are suitable for all ages (over 16s unless accompanied by an adult please) and abilities, as you can work at your own pace and you will be shown exactly what to do. You do need to be fairly fit and enjoy the great outdoors and of course, our changeable British weather!

Please do give us a call on 01883 341140 for a chat if you have any questions about volunteering with us or alternatively email us: downlands@surreycc.gov.uk. There is no fixed commitment, you can come and enjoy our free, sociable 'green gym' as often as you like. Getting out and exercising in the great outdoors with like-minded people has recognised widespread health and well-being benefits for all ages and of course to the glorious rare habitats too... and it is fun!

Everyone is welcome and we can accommodate corporate and local/school groups by arrangement, plus students completing their Duke of Edinburgh awards and work experience/voluntary training placements. Autumn/winter is the best season for corporates to get involved, as we can usually accommodate larger and more groups on our scrub clearance task days. Please contact us to find out more.

Full details on how to get involved, what to wear/bring etc and site location information can also be found in the programme. Also take a look at our Countryside Partnerships Volunteer information page for general information on what to expect from countryside volunteering. Please also see our Volunteer Promise (PDF).

To gain a real insight in to our Downlands volunteering task days, please visit our countryside volunteers Facebook page plus we recommend you have a look at our short YouTube film as well. Our thanks to Alice who used to work at VARB (Voluntary Action Reigate and Banstead) who kindly produced the film for us.

We look forward to welcoming you along very soon.

Conservation grazing with sheep, goats and cattle

The Downlands Partnership has its own grazing family led by Grazing Officer Sean Grufferty and Grazing Assistant Connor Harrison.

We currently have a flock of over 180 animals, comprising Herdwick, Beulah Speckled Face and Jacob sheep, Sussex cattle and British Feral goats. We manage an extensive conservation grazing programme to maintain and restore rare chalk grassland habitats for our partners, including many Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) across NE Surrey, Croydon and Sutton plus in Bromley too.

You can follow the Downlands Partnership Grazing family (staff, volunteers and animals!) on Twitter @Downygrazers and Facebook.

Should you be interested in helping us to look after our animals, we currently have around 95 voluntary stock checkers that we have trained to help us to monitor our animals when they are grazing on sites across the partnership area and more are always welcome. The voluntary stock checkers work on a rota arrangement seven days a week, 365 days a year, so their support is vital, rewarding and much appreciated by the Downlands Partnership. Please contact the Grazing Team direct on 07968 832692 if this is of interest and to find out what current rota opportunities are available.

We also welcome voluntary placements from students studying animal/countryside management, so please do contact Sean or Connor if you would like to join them on day release from college or for short or longer work experience/training placements.

The Downlands Partnership Grazing team can be contacted direct by email: downlands.grazing@surreycc.gov.uk.


You could support us from your armchair too!

We are always looking for further monetary support please to fund the purchase of essential items such as tools, materials or even more animals to help us to continue conserving the lovely local landscape.

If you are unable to help by taking part in practical conservation work, you could please kindly consider supporting the Downlands Partnership by taking up a membership or by giving a donation to our registered independent charity partner, the Downlands Trust.

The Trust was established in November 2008 and is run by six voluntary trustees that actively support our countryside management work; they work hard raising funds through memberships, fundraising and local outreach activities in partnership with us.

Most recently the Downland Partnership and Downlands Trust attended the Carshalton Environmental Fair together (August Bank Holiday Monday) to spread the word about Downlands work and volunteering opportunities.

The Downlands Trust recently funded the purchase of a large selection of new tools and equipment to support our work, including tree poppers. The Trust also made generous match funding contributions in 2017 to essential targeted winter scrub clearance work by contractor at Quarry Hangers SSSI in Chaldon and to the supply and installation of replacement livestock fencing by contractor at Stagbury Field, part of glorious Chipstead Downs SSSI.

The Trust is currently looking for an additional voluntary trustee to join their board and help with various administration tasks, so please do contact them direct if this is of interest.

Many thanks for your support.

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