HERITAGE • CONSERVATION • ENVIRONMENT • WILDLIFE • LEISURE

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Volunteers are our VIPs

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 an interest in anything mentioned below, please contact the relevant person.

Also, anyone can read our Volunteer eNews to see what we've been doing and what's new. To receive it about every 3 or 4 months, please subscribe here.

Rights of way help

Book distribution

We are publishing an increasing number of books featuring stunning walks in all areas of the Chilterns. This year, to celebrate the Society's 50th year, there'll be a new book of 50 fantastic walks in all corners of the Chilterns.

The walks have been written and researched by keen walkers, most of whom are fellow members, and are aimed at the growing number of people of all ages who really appreciate the joys of a relaxing ramble in the Chilterns, much of which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. All our books are proving to be really popular, are keenly priced and are snapped-up when they go on sale

We'd love to see our books being sold in as many outlets as possible including: bookshops, pubs, shops selling outdoor clothing, boots and equipment, etc., and at local events.

We're looking for someone to co-ordinate sales of our books including contacting shop owners, pub landlords, etc., as well organising distribution of the books working with a small team of volunteers.

What's in it for you? The satisfaction of knowing that thousands of walkers can enjoy some of the best scenery in the land, working with some brilliant people and the knowledge that you're making a real difference! It should only take up a couple of hours a week of your time.

Are you interested?

Yes? Then give Geoff Wiggett, our volunteer co-ordinator, a call on 01442 875906 or email him .

Rights of way help

Path maintenance volunteers wanted in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

The Chiltern Society is building a footpath maintenance volunteer group in the North Chilterns area. This will complement the existing PMV groups in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Are you interested in helping as a PMV volunteer in Herts and Beds? You can help keep the Chilterns' brilliant network of footpaths, bridleways, stiles and steps in the north Chilterns in good condition and, at the same time, get some great healthy exercise working with a very sociable group of volunteers! No special skills are necessary – this is great fun and really satisfying work – and any training needs are provided 'on the job'. There will be work parties twice monthly and all tools, refreshments and insurance cover are provided by the Chiltern Society.

All you need is to wear a pair of stout boots and strong gloves together with appropriate clothing for outdoor work.Initially the work is likely to be in Dacorum and parts of Bedfordshire slightly to the north of Dacorum.

Once we have a team of trained volunteers a work programme and diary will be circulated.

Interested? Call Les Mosco, who is helping build the team, on 07799 718283 for an informal chat or email him .

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High flyers needed at Whiteleaf Hill

Now that the Chiltern Society is the custodian of the the famous chalk cross at Whiteleaf Hill near Princes Risborough, it has the enviable task of maintaining it!

Last September, a team of local RAF cadets, helping the Society's own volunteers, cleared the main part of the cross. It now stands out like a beacon and can be seen for miles.

At the foot of the cross is the pyramidal 'skirt' that the cross sits atop. This also needs clearing of vegetation but is on a fairly steep slope and requires a small team of fit and supple volunteers to work on this somewhat challenging terrain. It's a large area but can be worked maybe every couple of weeks, taking about 6 to 9 months in all.

The full array of safety equipment and training will be given (we know how to look after our volunteers), tools and refreshments will be supplied – all you need is a head for heights and a willingness to get stuck in.

Does this unusual and unique volunteering opportunity interest you? How about giving it a go and see how you get on?

Just call the site co-ordinator, David Kent, for an informal chat on 01844 343330 or .

Rights of way help

Path maintenance volunteers wanted in central and south Chilterns

Help keep the Chilterns' brilliant network of footpaths, bridleways, stiles and steps in central and south Chilterns in good condition and, at the same time, get some great healthy exercise working with a very sociable group of volunteers!

No special skills are necessary and any training needs are provided 'on the job'. There are regular work parties most weeks and all tools and insurance cover are provided by the Chiltern Society. All you need is to wear a pair of stout boots and strong gloves together with appropriate clothing for outdoor work.

For more information and an informal chat contact Howard Dell (South Chilterns) on 01494 764149 or , or Richard Boas (Central Chilterns) on 01628 527978 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.

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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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 left-click the image above to open the Volunteers are our VIPs leaflet in a new window, or right-click to download it (1MB PDF).

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