Volunteering and CV- 19
We are currently working on how to restart volunteering and engagement in light of the CV 19 pandemic and are adapting our volunteering where possible to incorporate social distancing and other government guidance. We are regularly altering our approach depending on the changing government guidance and any opportunities within the Blackdowns AONB will be updated below.
Thinking of volunteering?
There are volunteering opportunities to suit everyone, no matter what your age, background, interests or abilities.
If you’d like to get involved, we would love to hear from you!
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01823 680 681
What is it like to volunteer?
Find out about volunteering in the Blackdown Hills from our volunteers and the people who work with them – read our volunteering blogs.
Looking for volunteers?
Working collectively makes it easier for us all to enjoy and look after the Blackdown Hills AONB. It also serves to strengthen and amplify what we can achieve.
Our volunteer coordinator works to identify opportunities and training for volunteers and to generate interest in volunteering in the Blackdown Hills AONB. The aim is to cultivate lasting links between local groups looking for volunteer support and people looking for volunteering opportunities.
Our volunteer coordinator is shared with the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, working half of each week for the Blackdown Hills AONB.
If you’re looking for volunteers to help you with a project based in either, or both, of the AONB’s, we would love to hear from you – please email email@example.com
There are community projects across the Blackdown Hills, many of which have benefitted from the involvement of volunteers.
Volunteering with the Blackdown Hills AONB team
Recruiting: Heritage Sites at Risk Practical Days
The Blackdown Hills AONB is working in Partnership with Devon County Council to host practical countryside work parties on two heritage at risk sites in the Blackdown Hills AONB over the autumn and winter – and we are looking for volunteers!
There will be three practical days held over the autumn at Hembury Hillfort and two practical days at Dunkeswell abbey (dates to be decided) aiming to support the management of these scheduled monuments with the involvement of volunteers. The tasks undertaken will vary at each site but will involve scrub clearance, sapling removal and wildflower meadow sowing. Hot drinks and tools will be provided.
Task days are limited to 5 volunteers due to Covid restrictions, so spaces will be filled on a first come first served basis. If you would like to find out more or to book onto a session then please email the Blackdown Hills AONB Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
People with a Passion for Heritage
Coldharbour Mill are looking for new members to join our Curatorial Volunteer Team who support the vital care and preservation of our collections. Our collections are of national significance with English Heritage writing that Coldharbour Mill is “probably one of the best-preserved textile mill complexes in the country. It retains the full range of buildings and power system features which characterised the development of the 19th century textile mill with much of the machinery that was used at the site in the 20th century.”
Our teams help to maintain the good condition of our exhibits, catalogue our collections, perform environmental monitoring and plan for our new exhibitions, of which we have a couple opening in 2021 as we celebrate Coldharbour Mill Museums 40th Anniversary.
This team works together to tell the important stories of Coldharbour Mill and interpret what we feature as part of the publicly-viewable collection, while also maintaining our archives so that our history can live on for many generations to come.
Our team meet regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All you need to bring is your enthusiasm and willingness to learn.
As we kick off some new projects and prepare for our 40th anniversary it will be a very exciting time to start volunteering with us.
To read more about the volunteering opportunities at Coldharbour Mill go to www.coldharbourmill.org.uk/volunteer
Spring Adder Surveying
**THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL**
An exciting opportunity to work with Somerset Reptile and Amphibian Group to survey the little known adder population on the Blackdown Hills. Working in small groups you will survey specific sites on the Blackdown Hills three times during the survey season (March to the end of May) looking for basking adders. Training is provided and is essential for those wishing to undertake the survey work, for details see our events calendar.
For more details contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Verity Jones on email@example.com
View our events calendar to see forthcoming volunteering events in the Blackdown Hills AONB.
Nature and Wellbeing project
The Nature and Wellbeing project , funded by Somerset Public Health, focuses on communities that are currently not accessing the AONB’s in Somerset (Blackdown Hills AONB, Quantock Hills AONB and Mendip Hills AONB), 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 Lambert – KLambert@somerset.gov.uk, 01823 451 884 or 07464 987 813
** This surveying opportunity is postponed until 2021**
During June and July, the Blackdown Hills AONB in partnership with the Forestry England (FE), Somerset Ornithological Society (SOS) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are looking to recruit a team of Nightjar Survey Volunteers to undertake a scheme to monitor the population of singing male Nightjars within the Blackdown Hills AONB on FE, National Trust and Somerset Wildlife Trust land.
This is the second year of the recording scheme which aims to contribute to long term datasets of Nightjar populations within the Blackdown Hills AONB and across Somerset. The long term goal being to find out more about the habitats they use and what management work can be undertaken for their benefit.
For more information on this role please see our events page
Other volunteering opportunities in the Blackdown Hills
Axe Vale and District Conservation Society
Helping to protect the landscape and wildlife of the Axe Vale area, the Axe Vale and District Conservation 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
Blackdown Hills repair café
Throw it away no way! Blackdown Hills repair café, run by Blackdown Hills Transition Group, is tackling waste by helping people to repair items rather than throw them away. The repair café team is looking for skilled volunteers who are able to repair household items, including computers, electrical goods, bicycles, hand tools, furniture, soft furnishings and clothing. The repair cafés are held in Hemyock Parish Hall on the fourth Saturday every other month.
There are a range of opportunities to volunteer with Butterfly Conservation in both in Devon and Somerset. Butterfly Conservation runs butterfly monitoring schemes and practical conservation tasks to help manage their reserves for different butterfly species. They have two reserves in the Blackdown Hills AONB Little Breach and Mount Fancy Farm. As a small conservation charity, they always welcome help, no matter what your previous experience. To find out more you can either call Blackdown Hills’ volunteer coordinator on 07977 402 399 or get in touch directly with Devon Butterfly Conservation or Somerset Butterfly Conservation.
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 are all sorts 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT)
Devon Wildlife Trust has four nature reserves in the Blackdown Hills AONB: Ashculm Turbary, Clayhidon Turbary, Lickham Common and The Rough.
Volunteers help keep these rich wildlife habitats in good condition.
01392 279 244
Dunkeswell Airfield Heritage Centre guides
Dunkeswell Airfield Heritage Centre is looking for volunteers to join its team welcoming visitors. You don’t need to be an expert on the history of Dunkeswell as this can be learned! Far more important are good people skills and the ability to provide a warm welcome. They’re looking for people who are happy to work with the existing volunteer team and can help man the Heritage Centre for a day or half-day each week. To find out more call 0777 885 7722.
Honiton Beehive community garden
This community garden is one of the 15 community nature projects supported by the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project. Once wasteland, the site has been transformed into a delightful mini wildlife haven, next to the Beehive in Honiton. The volunteer team that looks after the garden is looking to develop the it further and would like to welcome new members. To find out more contact Blackdown Hills AONB – email@example.com
In the Blackdown Hills AONB, the National Trust manages Dumpdon Hill and Combe Wood near Honiton, and Wellington Monument close to Wellington. 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.
Neroche Conservation Volunteers (NCV)
Neroche Conservation Volunteers 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 England, 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 and contacting NVC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Neroche Woodlanders at Young Wood
Neroche Woodlanders is a social enterprise based at Young Wood, near Staple Fitzpaine. Young Wood is a 100-acre woodland, set within Forestry England’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 – email@example.com or 07541 080 397
Somerset Wildlife Trust
Based in Taunton, Somerset Wildlife Trust manages 72 reserves in Somerset, including 10 in the Blackdown Hills and hosts the Somerset Environmental Records Centre. Volunteering opportunities include practical conservation work, visitor work, surveys, office support and more.
Read about volunteering with Somerset Wildlife Trust or call 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 – firstname.lastname@example.org, 07773 343 335 or 01278 722100
Underway Meade Nature Reserve
Underway Meade, in Combe St Nicholas, is managed as a parish amenity promoting the conservation of wildlife, encouraging enjoyment, recreation and educational activities for the local community. The reserve trustees are looking for volunteers to join their team helping with the maintenance of the site for both the local community and wildlife. Depending on the season, this might include hedgelaying, path creation and maintenance. All welcome. The group usually volunteers for an hour or two on Saturdays but there is also the opportunity to volunteer during the week. Call Blackdown Hills AONB to find out more 01823 680681.