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Volunteering Opportunities

There are plenty of different types of countryside volunteering opportunities that you can get involved with on the Blackdown Hills. They suit a wide range of interests and ability, from physical activities such as coppicing and scrub clearance to the less physical, including environmental and site survey work. Countryside volunteering is a great way to meet new people, gain new skills and experience, get fit and help to care for the Blackdown Hills AONB.

Go to our volunteering events calendar to find out about forthcoming activities including task days, regular volunteering groups and for news about specialist opportunities such as bat, bird and butterfly survey work.

Volunteering with the AONB

Community outreach volunteers

We are looking for confident, friendly and outgoing local people to help occasionally with community outreach work in the Blackdown Hills AONB. This will include helping prepare for and run events, assisting with designing and creating resources and assisting with the outreach work of the Nature and Wellbeing project.

Contact Sammy Fraser – sfraser@somerset.gov.uk or 07977 402 399.

 

Nature and Wellbeing project

This project, funded by Somerset Public Health, focuses on communities that are currently not accessing the Blackdown, Quantock and Mendip Hills AONBs, but for whom access to the natural environment may be of great benefit. The reasons for the current lack of engagement for these groups may be associated with social-economic status, ethnicity, age, disability or mental health.

The project is managed by nature and wellbeing project officer, Kristen Lambert. She is looking for volunteers support the project – helping to run and prepare resources for events, school visits and site visits in the AONBs.

For details contact Kristen – KLambert@somerset.gov.uk, 01823 451 884 or 07464 987 813

 

Other opportunities in the Blackdown Hills

Adcombe Wood Volunteers

Recently formed so local people can care for their own woods. Adcombe Wood is an ancient mixed woodland and a SSSI. The villages of Corfe, Pitminster, Blagdon Hill and Feltham nestle around it.

The volunteers meet every first Thursday of the month and the third Sunday afternoon of alternate months. Working under the direction of The Woodland Trust. Tasks include coppicing, widening rides to encourage ground flora, re-opening glades, caring for the meadows, improving drainage, forming new paths and steps or simply recording the changing flora and fauna.

More about Adcombe Wood volunteers

 

Axe Vale and District Conservation Society

Helping to protect the landscape and wildlife of the Axe Vale area, the society runs a variety of events, walks and volunteering information.

For info call Martin Drake on 01460 220 650 or visit www.axevaleconservation.org.uk

 

Butterfly Conservation

Butterfly Conservation has a range of opportunities both in Devon and Somerset; they run butterfly monitoring schemes and practical conservation tasks to help manage their reserves, including some in the Blackdown Hills, for different butterfly species.

As a small conservation charity they always welcome help, no matter what your previous experience. The find out more you can either call Sammy Fraser on 07977 402 399 or get in touch with the Devon and Somerset Butterfly Conservation branches:

http://butterfly-conservation.org/253/devon-branch.html
http://www.somersetbutterflies.org.uk/

 

Coldharbour Mill

Coldharbour Mill is one of the oldest woollen mills in the UK, situated in Uffculme, on the western fringes of the AONB.

Whether you’re seven or 77, there is a huge range of volunteering opportunities available. These include working in the garden, site and building maintenance, helping with the Mill’s education programme, office assistance, working with the spinning and weaving equipment and more. Taster sessions and training is provided.

Find out more on 01884 840 960 or info@coldharbourmill.org.uk

 

Devon Wildlife Trust

Thanks to the help of volunteers, Devon Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves in the Blackdown Hills are rich in wildlife. Help keep the reserves in good condition.

www.devonwildlifetrust.org/volunteer

01392 279 244

 

National Trust

The National Trust manages Dumpdon Hill and Combe Wood near Honiton, and Wellington Monument in the Blackdown Hills. At Combe Wood the National Trust is looking for people to join its team of volunteers taking part in practical woodland management works such as coppicing. The National Trust is also looking to recruit a dog ranger and people engagement volunteers to encourage good dog owner behaviour and engage with visitors, both at Wellington Monument and Fyne Court in the Quantock Hills AONB.

To find out more contact the National Trust:

Combe Wood – lucy.buckingham@nationaltrust.org.uk

Dog ranger and people engagement volunteer – Lis Ford 01823 452 192 or 01823 451 587

 

Neroche Conservation Volunteers

Neroche Conservation Volunteers (NCV) is a friendly, informal group which works on a variety of wildlife sites in the northern Blackdown Hills to improve habitats and access for the public. Formed in 2007, the group has worked on land belonging to the Forestry Commission, Blackdown Hills Trust, Butterfly Conservation and Somerset Wildlife Trust.

The group meets twice a month to carry out practical tasks. You can book onto a task by checking out NCV’s events calendar http://e-voice.org.uk/ncv and contacting NVC at info@ncv.org.uk

 

Neroche Woodlanders at Young Wood

Neroche Woodlanders Ltd is a social enterprise based at Young Wood, near Staple Fitzpaine. Young Wood is a 100-acre woodland, set within the Forestry Commission’s wider 100 hectare Neroche Forest Estate. Conservation work, forest school, firewood and woodland product creation, and school visits are just some of the things that take place.

Volunteers are needed to help with practical management, construction projects and support for wild learning and family sessions.

For information contact Jenny Archard – jenny@nerochewoodlanders.org or 07541 080 397

 

RSPB

RSPB is the UKs largest nature conservation charity and is involved in some of the conservation projects taking place in the Blackdown Hills.

For details see: https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/community-and-advice/volunteer

 

Somerset Wildlife Trust

Based in Taunton, Somerset Wildlife Trust manages 72 reserves in Somerset, including 10 in the Blackdown Hills, and also hosts the Somerset Environmental Records Centre. Opportunities include practical conservation work, visitor work, surveys, office support and more.

Find out more – http://www.somersetwildlife.org/Volunteering.html or 01823 652 400.

 

Somerset Rural Youth Project (SRYP)

Working with young people from across the county on a range of projects, Somerset Rural Youth Project engages and supports young people in rural areas in a range of social, economic, educational and recreational opportunities.

SYRP is looking for volunteers to help support its activities and for local young people to take part in its projects.

Contact Barney Simmons – barneysimmons@sryp.org.uk, 07773 343 335 or 01278 722100

http://www.sryp.org.uk

 

Stockland Turbaries

These lowland heaths are unique to the Blackdown Hills. If you'd like to help conserve these hugely important wildlife habitats email David Allen at quantocknature@yahoo.co.uk

   

Devon and Somerset environmental records centres

These centres bring wildlife records together so that we can all get a clearer idea of what is happening to our environment.

You can help simply by telling the centres what you have seen whilst out and about in the Blackdown Hills. 

Follow the links below to submit your wildlife sightings including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, plants and invertebrates:

Somerset Environmental Records Centre

Devon Environmental Records Centre

 

Bat Conservation

Sometimes needs volunteers for survey work on the Blackdown Hills.

For information contact Lou Pickersgill on 01935 862 468 or email: pickersgilllou@aol.com or .

 

Blackdown Hills AONB / English Heritage

Volunteer Heritage Wardens are being sought to monitor Scheduled Monuments on the Blackdown Hills. This will involve site visits, photographs and surveys. Later, there may also be some site maintenance volunteering opportunities as a result of this survey work. Full training will be provided. For further information email charlotte.russell@english-heritage.org.uk or call  01271 831505. 

 

European Conservation Action Network (EuCAN) CIC

Offers a number of volunteering and training opportunities on the Blackdown Hills and other parts of Somerset. EuCAN is also keen to hear from anyone interested in developing volunteering projects or offering habitat management contracts that could involve trainees and disadvantaged or isolated people. Email nigelspring@yahoo.co.uk, call 01963 23559 or go to http://www.eucan.org.uk.

 

Wildside Experience 

Offers nature awareness and bushcraft training in East Devon and the Blackdown Hills and a range of interesting volunteering opportunities. For further information email Richard Whiteside info@wildsideexperience.co.uk or call 01823 680931or visit http://www.wildsideexperience.co.uk

 

Volunteer Centres

Volunteer Centres Devon (including Tiverton & Cullompton and East Devon Volunteer Centres)

Taunton Voluntary Action

South Somerset Volunteer Centre

Register as a BHC Volunteer

Join our bank of Blackdown Hills Countryside Volunteers by registering here.

We may then forward your details to Volunteer Coordinators who are looking to recruit more volunteers for specific projects.

Once you have registered, you give your permission to be contacted from time to time by these coordinators, to ask if you are available to help out.

To join in with forthcoming activities go to the events calender.


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Forthcoming Volunteering Opportunities

View all volunteering opportunities

Walk, cycle and ride on our suggested routes around the Hills.

Click here to see all routes.

Planning a visit or looking for something to do this weekend? Check the Diary of Events here


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