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.

Our monthly Chiltern Society eNews often includes a detailed timetable of volunteering opportunities. If you do not already subscribe to it, you can do so here.

Conservation and visitor centre volunteers Ewelme

Ewelme VolunteersHere's a fabulous opportunity for you to 'Get Involved' as a volunteer at the Ewelme Watercress Beds and Local Nature Reserve!

The Chiltern Society has, since 1992, been looking after the Watercress Beds and Local Nature Reserve at Ewelme. This is a 2.5ha (6.5acre) site running the length of Ewelme Village where, for about 100 years, a thriving watercress industry was run.

We're looking for new volunteers to help conserve the site. Without volunteer help we would not be able to maintain it as a really special place for both visitors and wildlife. Volunteers get involved with a huge range of jobs including creating channels through the beds, clearing vegetation, tree care, general repairs and site maintenance so, whatever your interests and skills, there'll be something for you. The site is a little gem and anyone with an interest in conservation and wildlife will relish helping there.

You may spot water voles, field mice, deer, water rails, together with a wide range of birds as well as butterflies, moths and dragonflies and you'll work amongst a plethora of wildflowers, too numerous to list. This is, after all, a nature reserve and is beautifully maintained, by volunteers, to encourage all these species and more. Working at your own pace in this wonderful location, you'll learn new skills, meet new people and, as a real bonus, improve your fitness.

There are work parties on the first Saturday and third Wednesday of each month from 9.30am until 12.30pm. Everything is supplied except wellies – so just turn up!

More details about Ewelme Watercress Beds and Local Nature Reserve can be found here but, better still, for an informal chat and introduction, contact the site co-ordinator, Tom Stevenson, at or call him on 01491 836888.

South Chilterns path maintenance volunteer group

PAth Maintenance VolunteersFancy joining a great team of volunteers? If you walk along the footpaths in the Oxfordshire Chilterns, you cannot fail to have noticed many new gates, installed in the last few years. Not only that, but you probably also recognise that the paths are maintained in a pretty good condition throughout the year.

This is down to work done by Chiltern Society volunteers, working under the badge of the South Chilterns Path Maintenance Volunteer group (SCPMV). To date the group has installed nearly 200 gates, replacing old, worn-out stiles, and has transformed the pleasure of walking, particularly for people with disabilities. Not only that, each year members of the group clear and mow miles of footpaths and bridleways.

After absorbing all this information, it may come as a surprise to you that the group is quite small, the usual working party being between 8 and 15 people out of a pool of around 30 volunteers. As with any club or group, people come and go, so the SCPMV group is currently seeking new blood.

It's not arduous work. There are three morning work parties each month but no commitment to work, just help when you are able to and work at your own pace. Ordinary DIY skills are sufficient for the gate work, none at all for basic clearance work - just enthusiasm. Best of all, you'll get fit, enjoy the company of others and gain a real sense of achievement. And the pub lunch which follows each work party can be very tempting!

Having whetted your appetite, you might also be interested to hear that there are other unique opportunities to get more involved in the group. For example, anyone with experience of trailer or caravan towing and who has a powerful car or 4x4 might want to share the duties of pulling the tools trailer to the work sites. Others with organisational skills and experience will derive satisfaction from helping plan the work programme and liaising with Oxfordshire County Council and local landowners.

Whatever your interests, training is given, particularly for those who would like to work with power tools, and everyone is covered by the Society's insurance.

Oxfordshire County Council has a very high regard for the SCPMV. They say that the SCPMV is the volunteer group which sets the standard to which all other volunteer groups should aspire! Their achievements have been recognised by winning the 'Biggest Impact on the Local Environment' category in the Oxfordshire Charity & Volunteer Awards and, last year, the group was runner-up for a Queen's Award for Volunteer Service.

If you would like to be part of this fantastic team, why not come along for a trial session? It's fun, extremely satisfying and, of course, you'll be made very welcome.

For more details and an informal chat about how you could help, call the group leader, Howard Dell on 01494 764149, or by

Path Maintenance Volunteers in Herts and Beds

PAth Maintenance VolunteersThe Chiltern Society now has a Path 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 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.

If you like working outdoors and meeting like-minded people, this is just the job for you. Interested? Call Les Mosco, who is helping build the team, on 07799 718283 for an informal chat or email him

Conservation Volunteers, Herts

Conservation Volunteers Hertfordshire Our long-established Herts Conservation Volunteer Group is looking for new blood!

The Group is an established and highly-experienced collection of volunteers which visits an amazingly diverse range of sites in Hertfordshire and further afield. The group works with other local conservation and 'Friends of...' groups, and members happily give their time and expertise to a series of local conservation projects.

They have, over the years, carried out a huge number of tasks including pond restoration, footpath maintenance, scrub clearance, tree planting, hedge laying and meadow cutting to mention just a few, giving nature a helping-hand by maintaining native plants and special habitats. The Group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month as well as regular Sundays, so there are opportunities for those that can help on weekdays or on weekends. No experience is necessary, both men and women are welcome, on-the-job training is given and tools and refreshments are provided. All work is carefully supervised and health and safety is paramount to the success of the Group.

Work parties are 10am-1pm and the Group makes arrangements to car-share when travelling to most locations. You'll really enjoy this role if you like working with others, relish the chance to work outdoors at some stunning locations and want to add to your fitness and wellbeing. The job will also give you tremendous satisfaction knowing that you're part of the solution to helping wildlife, rather than causing harm and being part of the problem. If you live in or near to an area between St Albans to the east, Tring and Wendover to the west, Markyate to the north and Amersham to the south then you're well-placed to help. Interested? For more information call our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Geoff Wiggett, on 01442 875906 for an informal chat, or email him

Walks Leaders

Rights of way helpThe 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 Field Officers

Planning Field OfficersThe Chiltern Society always has new and exciting volunteering opportunities – and here are some more!

Planning Field officers are wanted in South Bucks, Dacorum (Flamstead and Markyate), Chiltern (Amersham and Gt Missenden) and Chenies as well as North Herts.

The Chiltern Society, acting through its Planning Group, has achieved much success over many years in helping to stop the most damaging forms of new development which have been proposed within the Chilterns as well as working with many other local and national bodies in influencing and advising on planning affairs and how they might affect the Chilterns. Would you like to be part of this very successful team of volunteers?

If you have a couple of hours to spare each week, are concerned about how an area can be changed forever by inappropriate development and feel that you'd like to add your voice to those that worry about the impact that recent changes to the planning process are going to make, this could be just the thing for you.

All we ask is that you monitor and assess individual planning applications in your designated area and add your comments to the consultation process. You can add interest to the role by developing and maintaining relationships with both district and county planning officers. The Society's Planning Group is able to offer you real help, support and expertise –  which is second to none!

Interested? For more information and an informal chat, contact Geoff Wiggett, the Chiltern Society's Volunteer Co-ordinator on 01442 875906 or email him

Path Representatives for Rights of Way Group

Rights of way helpPath 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 – Ellesborough, Great Missenden, Stokenchurch, The Lee, Denham, Farnham Royal and Fulmer.

Dacorum area – Great Gaddesden.

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.

Conservation Volunteers, Marlow Common (North)

Conservation Volunteers Marlow Common (N)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.

An 'Open Access' site – meaning visitors are encouraged to explore without having to keep to footpaths – Marlow 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

Weekend Conservation Volunteers, Central Chilterns

Conservation Volunteers Marlow Common (N)Join an active group of volunteers covering an area from High Wycombe to Wendover, Latimer and the Chalfonts.

For more information, please contact Christine Breden 01844 353192.


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

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).