HERITAGE • CONSERVATION • ENVIRONMENT • WILDLIFE • LEISURE

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Volunteering opportunities

Get involved with caring for the Chilterns and meet new friends along the way. Choose from a wide and fascinating variety of volunteering opportunites.

This page is regularly updated with new opportunities. If you have some spare time and any of the skills mentioned below, please contact us.

Walks leaders

Chiltern Society Heritage Group

We have been fortunate in recruiting Alex Durao to head this long-standing and re-named group of volunteers.

A brief profile of Alex's background is in the summer issue of 'Chiltern' magazine. Alex is keen to make a start on two projects and would welcome interest from anyone who can offer him help.

The first project will involve researching buildings and sites of interest around the Chilterns, to be featured in a Chiltern Society Book of 50 Chiltern Walks to be published in 2015 and possibly as part of a roaming exhibition.

The second project involves different research, this time on the many alternative uses of old school buildings throughout the Chilterns and how that has impacted on the people and the area around the schools. The Chiltern Society office is located in an old Victorian school in Chesham!

Alex will be delighted to hear from anyone with an interest in either project.

If you have a couple of hours each week to spare, why not get involved by doing some research, writing, photography or basic survey work to help complete these great projects.

For more information and an informal chat, contact Alex Durao on 07447 659327 or .

Interested? For more information and an informal chat, contact Geoff Wiggett (CS Volunteer coordinator) on 01442 875906 or .

Rights of way help

Commission-paid role –
Advertising Sales

Sue Hutcheson, who has organised the advertising in our magazine for many years, is retiring at the end of 2014 – she will be available to hand over and support her replacement.

We're looking for someone, working from home, to contact small businesses, local tourist attractions, public houses and inns throughout the Chilterns and invite them to take up some advertising space in Chiltern our fantastic quarterly magazine.

Income from the advertising is important to us and goes towards paying for the magazine and our huge range of activities. We're happy to pay you a percentage of the advertising revenue for the time you spend. You can't say that about many volunteering jobs!

If you have these sorts of skills, maybe you've worked in the advertising/sales industry or just have a persuasive personality, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact Geoff Wiggett, our volunteer co-ordinator, on 01442 875906 or .

Rights of way help

Help promote us –
write-up our local work parties

Another new volunteering opportunity is preparing short reports about the activities of some of our busy groups – particularly our great teams of path maintenance volunteers – and sending these reports to local parish councils and parish newsletters for publication.

Basic information about our groups' tasks is sent to the office by them and it's an important job to write this up in an editorial form for publication.

Do you have a way with words? Are you a dab-hand on the computer? If so, this could be something that could give you real satisfaction, knowing that you're part of a group of volunteers that are really making a difference in the much-loved Chilterns. For more information and an informal chat about this fascinating volunteering opportunity, please contact Geoff Wiggett, our volunteer co-ordinator, on 01442 875906 or .

Rights of way help

Area secretary for RoWG

The Rights of Way Group (RoWG) represents the Chiltern Society's interest in all matters relating to enjoyment of public rights of way and access in the Chilterns, particularly by walkers, horse riders and cyclists.

Are you an outdoors type of person? Do you appreciate the fantastic network of footpaths and bridleways throughout the Chilterns and have a keen interest in ensuring that it continues to offer everybody great opportunities to enjoy the countryside?

If so you might find real pleasure and, at the same time, do the community a great service if you volunteer to become one of our Area Secretaries.

We have 20 Area Secretaries when all our areas are covered. They are the absolute cornerstone of the Chiltern Society's Rights of Way Group (RoWG), taking responsibility within their part of the Chilterns for the Group's core activity which is the effective monitoring of paths and open access land. Area Secretaries work with a team of Path Representatives and take appropriate action to resolve any reported difficulties regarding the condition of their network of paths, examine and respond to proposals to create, divert, or extinguish paths, and help seek improvements to the path network.

The Group currently has for the following vacancy, which it would like to fill.

RoWG Area Secretary for Beaconsfield, Burnham, Denham, Farnham Royal, Fulmer, Gerrards Cross, Hedgerley, Stoke Poges, Taplow and Wexham.

If you'd like to know more about this interesting and stimulating voluntary role, please contact Brian Lawson (Secretary of the RoWG) on 01494 815814.

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Fantastic new opportunity

The Chiltern Society wants to expand it's presence in the Central Beds area and this is a great voluntary job which will really make a difference.

Central Beds Conservation Group Team Leader

The Chiltern Society is keen to expand the general scope of its activities in Central Bedfordshire and, in particular, build a Central Bedfordshire Conservation group. The job of volunteer Team Leader to help establish, develop and co-ordinate the activities of this new group will prove to be tremendously satisfying and rewarding. The group will help maintain the condition of rights of way as well as offering volunteer help on commons, village greens and countryside sites throughout the Central Beds area and occasionally working with other interested parties and 'Friends of…' groups.

We are similarly active in many other areas throughout the Chilterns and have a great reputation for providing skill and expertise on some stunningly beautiful visitor sites, nature reserves and footpaths and, above all, offering our volunteers great opportunities to help maintain these beautiful locations.

Is this of interest to you? If so why not have an informal chat about the role (or any other aspect of volunteering with the Chiltern Society) with the Society's Volunteer Co-ordinator, Geoff Wiggett, on 01442 875906 or email him

Walks leaders

Walks Leaders

The Chiltern Society has a busy walks programme, including walks of various lengths several times a month, which we very much wish to maintain and extend.

We are always looking for volunteers to help us by leading walks, whether on a regular or an occasional basis. If you think you might like to do this please contact Judy Sonley, our Walks coordinator, on 01494 712857.

For further information about our walks programme, click here.

Planning fields officers

Planning Field Officers

The threat of huge developments, both housing and commercial, as well as increased leisure pursuits and road, air and rail transport improvements are an ongoing problem throughout Chilterns.

Are you passionate about the Chilterns' environment and that of the area in which you live? Could a planning application threaten your neighbourhood or affect the enjoyment of locals or visitors?

If so, you can make a real difference by helping the Chiltern Society's Planning Group in its fight against unsuitable and unwanted developments.

Background

The Chiltern Society's Planning Group consists of a network of area teams arranged to correspond with the boundaries of each of the District or Borough Council areas that fall within the Chilterns.

Each area team consists of a group of Volunteer Planning field officers (PFOs) who, supported by a volunteer Area Planning co-ordinator and a team of volunteer Planning Assistants, keep a regular check on Planning applications in their local area, respond and make other representations in line with the Society's policies to those applications that they feel might have a damaging or negative effect on the Chilterns and liaise with colleagues in the Planning Group to ensure continuity.

What's involved?

Much of the PFO's role can be done from home providing there is an online connection to the local Planning portal. Just log on when convenient, look at what applications have been submitted, consider what effect individual developments might have on the local environment in line with our well-researched policy documents and respond appropriately through the Council's consultation process.

Another interesting aspect of the work involves developing and maintaining contacts with District and County Planning officers to ensure good communications and understanding.

Occasional Area Team meetings are arranged and these are very social occasions which our PFOs enjoy attending. If you like working in a team, this is the job for you!

We have opportunities for a volunteer Planning Field officer in various locations throughout the Chilterns and, in particular, the northern part around Luton..

What's in it for me?

You'll gain real knowledge about the planning process, feel part of a great team of like-minded people and have the satisfaction of knowing that you've 'made a difference'! These roles are great for anyone with a town planning or associated background but a genuine interest and enthusiasm for protecting the Chiltern countryside is just as, if not more, important. You can make a real difference and be particularly influential, especially now that the Government's changes to the way planning applications are dealt with under the Localism bill are having an affect.

All voluntary jobs in the Planning Group are fully supported by both the Planning Group Chairman and Administrator.

Interested? For more information and an informal chat, contact Geoff Wiggett (Chiltern Society Volunteer co-ordinator) on 01442 875906 or email him

Rights of way help

Path Representatives for RoWG

Path Representatives play an essential role in the Chiltern Society's Rights of Way Group (RoWG), each checking the condition, accessibility and way-marking of an agreed list of paths.

Problems can then be reported to the appropriate County authority and action quickly taken to carry out repair and maintenance. Many path reps also willingly carry out minor maintenance of their paths, the type of jobs that require no formal authority from the County.

We currently have about 140 volunteer Path Representatives and are well staffed in many areas. There are however also some areas where we would like to fill vacancies.

We are particularly keen to hear from anybody who might like to help us in the places listed below. If you are interested and would like more information, please contact Brian Lawson, the Secretary of the Rights of Way Group on 01494 815814.

Buckinghamshire – Ashley Green, Denham, North Beaconsfield, Stokenchurch, and the parishes from Edlesborough to Marsworth, i.e., Edlesborough, Ivinghoe, Marsworth and Pitstone.

Oxfordshire – Chinnor, Crowell, Pyrton and Shirburn .

Hertfordshire – Abbots Langley, Bovingdon, Flaunden, Kings Langley and Nash Mills.

Central Bedfordshire – Houghton Regis, Potten End and Whipsnade, and the parishes from Barton-le-Clay beyond Luton to Hyde including Barton-le-Clay, Chalton, Harlington, Hyde, Shillington, Streatley, Sundon and Toddington,

If you are able to help you will be playing a significant part in keeping the ever popular path network in the Chilterns in a condition that enables walkers and riders to enjoy the countryside to the full.

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Path Maintenance Volunteers

Help keep footpaths, bridleways, stiles and steps in the South Chilterns (South Oxfordshire) in good condition and get some good healthy exercise with a very social group at the same time.

No special skills necessary and feel free whether or not to join work sessions held three times a month. All tools and insurance cover supplied by the Chiltern Society.

Contact: Howard Dell for further details: 01494 764149, or

South Chiltern Path Maintenance Volunteers

The Chiltern Society has taken over maintenance and control of a fantastic nature reserve at Marlow Common (North)

It forms part of a large tract of woodland lying to the west of Marlow. It comprises mainly English oak and silver birch with an understorey of bracken.

Most of the year, it's alive with wildlife.

It's an 'Open Access' site meaning visitors are encouraged to explore without having to keep to footpaths.

The Common is owned by Wycombe District Council and management is now in the hands of the Chiltern Society. WDC chose the Chiltern Society as future stewards and managers because they knew that, with our track record, the site would continue to be managed in a sensitive and sustainable way whilst allowing visitors to get close to nature and experience the stunning beauty of this wonderful landscape.

The Society is fully committed to maintaining the unique character of all these sites and has been fortunate in recruiting a site co-ordinator and an activity leader to manage and care for the site and also to form a group of Conservation volunteers to help with the many tasks required.

We already have a huge network of truly amazing people giving up their time every week to really make a difference so why not join them?

These are fantastic opportunities for anyone interested in helping to improve our natural environment in this increasingly urbanised world.

Conservation volunteers – join our new team of fit and energetic conservation volunteers, men and women who can turn their hands to almost any task. This local common will offer you endless opportunities to express yourself in ways that will surprise you. You'll meet some really remarkable people, learn new skills, gain knowledge about wildlife and use up that bit of spare energy.

You may be looking for something different to fill your day or you may only have a few hours to spare each week – it's up to you to decide how much time you can give us. That's one of the great things about volunteering. Just turn up – we'll do the rest!

All you need is commitment, energy, enthusiasm and a passion for the outdoor world.

For full details of Marlow Common, further information about any of the wonderful volunteering opportunities described here or for any other information, please ring Jeff Short on 01628 481358

Jeff can also be contacted by email using the following link:

Conservation help

Conservation Volunteers and Visitor Centre Helpers

Join a happy band of conservation volunteers at our Ewelme Watercress Beds and Local Nature Reserve, helping to keep the historic watercress beds in good order, or helping out in the visitor centre (entrance tickets; product sales; teas; etc.). Contact the Project Officer, Ann Truesdale, on 01491 835173.

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Central Chiltern Weekend Conservation Volunteers

Covering from High Wycombe to Wendover, Latimer and the Chalfonts are always looking for volunteers to help in their work. For more information, please contact Christine Breden 01844 353192.

For more information see the Getting Involved form. (Left-click the image to open the PDF in a new window, or right-click to download it).

Volunteers are encouraged to read our Volunteer Handbook. Clicking the above image will download a PDF of it to your device