Got a bit of free time and a love of all things rural? Here are ten rewarding ways you can volunteer in the countryside. Warm fuzzy feelings guaranteed!
If you want to help conserve the beautiful landscapes of the British countryside with hands-on practical work, there are many opportunities through a wealth of organisations. Perhaps you could become a ranger in a national park, plant trees, help build walls or lay hedges?
1) Fix the Fells, Lake District National park
If you fancy some nature nurturing, Fix the Fells is a voluntary project set up to repair and maintain the mountain paths in the Lake District. Their work helps to reduce erosion scars in order to preserve the stunning natural landscape. Volunteers will receive comprehensive training, learning skills that will last a lifetime.
2) Outer Space, Doncaster
Outer Space is an environment and health project, based in the scenic surroundings of the Woodlands of St Catherine’s. Volunteers have already installed numerous benches, sown areas of wildflowers and constructed a footpath that stretches almost half a mile. Give back to the great outdoors by joining them as they meet the first Wednesday of every month, 10am till 12:30pm and 1pm to 3:30pm, by the information board on St Catherine’s drive.
3) Voluntary Trainee Rangers, Surrey
Work with the Surrey Wildlife Trust and gain valuable experience in practical conservation. Help to assist with the management of a variety of habitats, as well as other tasks, such as guided walks. Volunteers can receive both external and internal training. Some previous experience in practical conservation is required.
Maybe you’d like to volunteer by looking after UK wildlife? Organisations such as the RSPB have residential and fundraising opportunities, and Wildlife Trusts across the UK have many volunteering opportunities in both rural and urban areas, so you can find one close to home that suits you and protect your local natural environment.
Working in this RSPB led programme, you can help to stimulate the minds of young people by teaching them the wonders of the wild. Your zest for nature will inspire children to make the most of the natural world, through educational sessions delivered in schools across the city.
5) Community Fundraising area coordinator, various locations
Fond of fundraising? Help the RSPB raise vital funds by lending your support to a team of volunteers, who proudly look after pin badge donations in your local area. Your help will provide these volunteers with the support and resources to ensure that these important pin badge boxes are looked after.
6) Red deer on Westleton Heath, Minismere Visitor Centre
If you’re wild about wildlife, this is a fantastic way to show it. Working with the RSPB, your animated enthusiasm will help to explain and interpret the fascinating spectacle of red deer competing for mates during the autumn rut. Pass on your passion as you meet and greet visitors and show them how to use binoculars to view the red deer herds.
Join your local Wildlife Trust and take part in rewarding activities ranging from dry stone walling, hedge laying, vegetation identification and GPS mapping. The Wildlife Trust offers you an exciting and diverse variety of volunteering opportunities that could be close to your doorstep.
Put your green thumb to use in beautiful and famous gardens across the UK, with the National Trust offering the chance to volunteer in the gardens of their properties. Some locations also have roles of garden guides, so you can share your knowledge with visitors from far and wide.
8) Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
This stunning site boasts grade 1 gardens featuring intimate garden rooms, formal lawns and an extensive arboretum. Not a bad spot then, to get stuck into the soil. When working at the gardens, you can expect to get involved in varying tasks from season to season, these are likely to include planting, weeding, trimming and mulching.
Got a passion for the past? English Heritage and the National Trust have many spectacular properties and sites in the countryside, and these offer yet more volunteering opportunities in roles such as room guides, stewards and surveying.
9) National Trust houses, various locations
Volunteering in one of the National Trusts’ beautiful houses will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in British history. As well as the front of house roles, you can help bring these historic places to life by exercising your imagination when storytelling, or when working as a costumed interpreter.
10) Eltham Palace, London
If you enjoy socializing with new people and have a keen interest in British heritage, this impressive property could provide an ideal volunteering opportunity for you. Roles include an informal ten minute talk on aspects of the house and collection and joining in the fun at the palace’s activity days and special events.