Downlands Partnership - volunteering opportunities

The Downlands Partnership has a great selection of practical conservation volunteering sessions to try in north-east Surrey (Tadworth to Tatsfield) and in the urban fringe, neighbouring areas of Croydon and Sutton.

There is something for everyone to get involved in, with different seasonal countryside tasks taking place on numerous, glorious sites across the partnership area. We recommend trying a scrub clearance or ragwort/balsam pulling type task first if you are new to practical conservation work, but the majority of our 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 getting out and about in the great outdoors.

If you have any questions or concerns, please just give us a call for a chat before deciding which task would be best for you to start with. There is no fixed commitment with our conservation crew, you can come and join in as often as you like, for full or half days. Exercising whilst socialising in our friendly "green gym" with like-minded people has recognised widespread health and well-being benefits and of course, greatly benefits the local countryside and rare habitats too.

Please call our task team on 01883 341140 or email us: downlands@surreycc.gov.uk for further information and to let us know in advance when you would like to come and join in.

To gain an insight into our Downlands Partnership conservation volunteering task days, please visit our Downlands Partnership countryside volunteers Facebook page.

Please also see our Surrey Countryside Partnerships Health and Safety Guide for Volunteers (PDF).

This summer 2021, we have the following conservation volunteering task days on offer that are ideal for new volunteers to consider:

Scheduled task datesCountryside site locationPractical conservation volunteering activity
20, 21 and 22 July 2021 Chipstead Downs and Hooley Meadows Ragwort pulling with ragforks to manage the chalk grassland
27, 28 and 29 July 2021Manor Park, Caterham Small scrub clearance to manage the chalk grassland
3, 4 and 5 August 2021Addington Hills, Upper Shirley Invasive non-native plant removal to manage the grassland and step repairs to improve access
10, 11 and 12 August 2021Hooley Meadows Small scrub clearance to manage the chalk grassland
31 August, 1 and 2 September 2021 Chipstead Downs Raking up after brushcutting to manage the chalk grassland
14, 15 and 16 September 2021 Nork Park, BansteadRaking up after brushcutting to manage the chalk grassland
21, 22 and 23 September 2021Caterham Viewpoint Raking up after brushcutting to manage the chalk grassland
28, 29 and 30 September 2021Park Ham, Chaldon Small scrub clearance to manage the chalk grassland

There are also scheduled practical countryside volunteering tasks held on Mondays and one Sunday per month at the Sanderstead to Whyteleafe Countryside Area.

We are pleased to welcome corporate and local community/school groups by arrangement, plus students completing their Duke of Edinburgh awards and work experience/voluntary training placements.

Please kindly note that not all of our scheduled tasks are suitable for groups, so please get in touch and we can further discuss the best options for your specific group size together and to explain the booking arrangements for groups.

We look forward to welcoming you along with our fantastic conservation crew 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 the Partnership area and into Bromley too. We completed our 2021 lambing season in May at our Surrey County Council owned holding farm, Old Lodge Farm near Carshalton/ Banstead, and were very pleased to welcome 77 new bouncy balls of fleecy joy to our flock!

You can follow and find out more about our grazing family (staff, volunteers and all the animals, including the new lambs in action) on the Downlands Partnership Grazing Twitter account @Downygrazers and the Downlands Partnership Grazing Facebook page.

Should you be interested in helping us to look after our animals, we currently have around 100 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 on 07968 832692 or by email: downlands.grazing@surreycc.gov.uk. if this is of interest and to find out which current rota opportunities are available.

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


You could support us from your sofa 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 landscapes.

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 Downlands Trust was established in November 2008 and is run by seven dedicated 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.

The Downlands Trust and Downlands Partnership attend targeted public events together to spread the word about the work of both organisations and to promote volunteering and membership opportunities.

The Downlands Trust recently funded the purchase of a large selection of new tools and equipment to support our work, including tree poppers, extendable loppers and some great new Downland Partnership "volunteers at work" signs.

Please have a look at the Downlands Trust Facebook page to find out more about their charity work and latest news.

Many thanks for your support.


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