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Countryside volunteering

Waverley's Countryside Rangers lead practical conservation tasks across the borough, all year round, with the help of the Waverley Countryside Volunteers. Together, they are involved in the management of many of Waverley's fantastic open spaces. 

Last year volunteers gave us an incredible 2738 days of their time - a remarkable achievement which is greatly appreciated by our staff and site users.

If you have Covid symptoms

Please do not attend any of our volunteer sessions if you have symptoms of Covid. This includes the standard symptoms of cough, fever, and loss of taste and smell, but also more generic cold-like symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, and headache. This applies even if you have tested negative for Covid, as this does not guarantee that you do not have the virus, and it can be very unsettling for other volunteers to have a symptomatic person working with them. We also ask you to not attend if you are living with someone who has tested positive for Covid 19 within the last 10 days.

Some of our volunteers may be vulnerable or feeling anxious about the ongoing risk from Covid, so we ask you to be sensitive to their needs and observe social distancing where possible whilst you are working with us. We will provide hand sanitiser which we encourage you to use during our volunteer sessions, and will have masks available if there is a need for you to work in close proximity for extended periods.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information on government website

Why volunteer?

  •     Help improve your local wildlife habitats and make a real difference to the animals and plants that live there.
  •     Meet new people interested in looking after the countryside.
  •     Conservation volunteering is a great way of keeping fit, getting fresh air and relieving stress.

All tools, protective equipment and supervision are provided by the countryside rangers. They will also explain how to use hand tools safely and give the reasons for the work being carried out.  Most importantly, they will provide tea and coffee (please bring your own lunch).

Who can become a volunteer?

Everyone is welcome to come along and help us with our conservation tasks, but  under 16's must be accompanied by an adult.

No experience is needed, just plenty of enthusiasm and some elbow grease.

New volunteers are always welcome. 

What to expect

Spring and summer

Tasks include:

  •     removing invasive plants by hand such as ragwort, himalayan balsam and bracken
  •     improving paths
  •     creating steps
  •     installing seats for visitors
  •     litter-picking
  •     hay-making

Autumn and winter

Tasks include:

  •     hedge-laying 
  •     coppicing (cutting down poles of hazel and chestnut to regenerate woodland)
  •     pulling out stray Scots pine sapling
  •     removing gorse and birch on heathland
  •     planting trees
  •     clearing ponds of excess vegetation

Register as a volunteer

Before becoming an Waverley Countryside Volunteer, you will need to register as a volunteer

Register as a volunteer

More information

To find out more, please contact the Parks and Countryside team, email parks&countryside@waverley.gov.uk or call 01483 523394.

Check out the Waverley countryside locations for more information on our activities and when they take place.

Volunteer sessions normally take place every Wednesday morning from 9:00am – 12:30pm to assist in the management in this historic deer park. Meet at 9am at the locations below, parking can be found at the main car park on Folly Hill (GU9 0AU). Sessions led by Nick.

Dates and tasks are subject to change – please check with site noticeboards or the ranger beforehand by calling 01252 717047.

Meeting point map

The image below will help you find the meeting points each week.

Farnham Park map grid for volunteers

Download map

Download an image of the meeting point map:  

Farnham Park meeting point map

Tasks and dates

Wednesday 18 May

Bracken clearance, path maintenance and vegetation cutting.

Meet at the Nutshell Lane entrance (M8 - commuting.backhand.lyricism)

Wednesday 25 May

Path widening and vegetation cutting.

Meet at Royal Pond (I8 – fools.this.sues) 

Friday 27 May (extra session!) 

Path maintenance and widening, and cutting back vegetation. 

Meet at Upper South View (A3 – repair.dude.conspire) 

Wednesday 1 June

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam.

Meet at the Halfway Bench Glade (L8 – fades.erase.surcharge)

Wednesday 8 June 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Dormouse Corner (E10 – passes.backed.look) 

Wednesday 15 June 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Royal Pond (I8 – evaded.nutty.ejects) 

Wednesday 22 June 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Oast House Meadow south (K8 – nesting.chestnuts.hatter) 

Wednesday 29 June 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Motorway Bridge (K5 – rods.giant.cashiers) 

Wednesday 6 July 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam and bracken clearance. 

Meet at Nutshell Lane (M8 – seeing.minerals.toolbar) 

Wednesday 13 July 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam and bracken clearance. 

Meet at Double Bridge (M3 – coffee.signs.healers) 

Wednesday 20 July 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam and bracken clearance. 

Meet at College Copse (F8 – quack.brew.quicker

Wednesday 27 July 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Farnham Park Drive (N4 – proudest.behind.reminds) 

Wednesday 3 August 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Parliament Pond (K1 – instance.abacus.refreshed) 

Wednesday 10 August 

Pulling out invasive Himalayan balsam. 

Meet at Friends Pond (G4 – held.tight.radiates) 

 

Volunteer sessions normally take place every Wednesday from 10am-3pm, except for the second Wednesday of the month when we instead work at Mare Hill Common. Meet at 10am at the Frensham Great Pond Car Park off Bacon Lane, GU10 2QB, unless otherwise specified in the listing. Sessions led by Darren.

Tasks and dates

Wednesday 18 May

Natterjack toad ponds: Today we will be cutting back the grassy areas around the Natterjack toad ponds to allow unimpeded access for the toads.

Wednesday 25 May

BOAT bollards: Today we will be installing posts on the Byway Open to All Traffic to prevent users from straying from the route and eroding the common.

Please meet at 10am at the ford on Sandy Lane, GU10 2EX (SU 861 407)

Wednesday 1 June

Biological surveys: Continuing this year’s biological surveys on the common; from birds to bats and everything in between - it’s all useful data to help guide management on site.

Meeting point to be confirmed – please contact us on parksandcountryside@waverley.gov.uk or 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 15 June

Natterjack toad ponds: Today we will continue with cutting back the grassy areas around the Natterjack toad ponds to allow unimpeded access for the toads.

Wednesday 22 June

Invasive species removal at Tilford Nature Reserve: Today for a change we will be working at the nearby Tilford Nature Reserve. We will removing invasive Himalayan balsam and black cherry to prevent them taking over at the expense of other species. 

Meet at the Stockbridge car park, Tilford (GU10 2DD, SU 875430) 

Meet at 10:15am by the barrows on the main path on top of the Kings Ridge (SU 853 408) 

Wednesday 29 June

Barrows fencing: Today we will be replacing sections of chestnut paling around the barrows on the Kings Ridge.

Meet at 10:15am by the barrows on the main path on top of the Kings Ridge (SU 853 408)

Volunteer sessions from 10am - 3pm unless otherwise stated, though there is no requirement to stay all day. Meet 10am at the small car park off Roke Lane, Witley, GU8 5NZ (SU 936 399). Sessions led by Vicky. Tools are provided, as are tea and coffee.

Tasks and dates

Wednesday 11 May

Bird survey, sign installation and path cutting back: We will have an early start and spend the first few hours carrying out a survey of the many bird species which can be found on Mare Hill, including a number of heathland specialists. After a short break we will spend the remainder of the session installing signs and cutting back paths.

Please note an earlier start and finish time - meet at 7:45am for an 8:00am start. We will be finished by 1:00pm. Please note that we will need good weather for the bird survey to be worthwhile, so if the forecast is bad we will swap this day with next month’s task.

Wednesday 8 June

Bollard installation: We will replace the bollards around the edge of the parking area, and possibly also on some other areas of the site. If the weather is suitable we may get some time in the afternoon to survey for wildlife, with a particular focus on reptiles.

Wednesday 13 July

Pond clearance and wildlife surveying: Assuming that water levels are low enough, we will take the opportunity to clear out the water retention ponds at the bottom of the site. Once finished, and if the weather is good, we will then spend the remainder of the day surveying for butterflies and dragonflies. If water levels are too high to carry out the pond clearance, this task will be replaced by path surfacing.

Wednesday 10 August

Invertebrate survey: We will be joined by a local expert to seek out the small and inconspicuous, but often rare and specialised insect species that make Mare Hill their home. Depending on available time and the weather conditions, we may also carry out a reptile survey.

Wednesday 28 September (please note change of date)

Scrub clearance: This will be our first day of winter scrub clearance from the heathland. It is necessary to periodically clear scrub to prevent the heathland plant communities from being shaded out and the specialised wildlife species associated with this habitat from being lost.

We are not currently running any volunteer sessions at Blackheath Common, but hope to do so shortly.

 

Please note that volunteering tasks do not run routinely at Summerlands over the spring and summer.

These sessions are from 10am - 1pm and led by Vicky.

Tasks and dates

Tuesday 28 June

Wildflower meadow survey: Surveying the three recently established wildflower meadows to tally species present and frequency.

Meet at 10am at the end of Rydelands, GU6 7DX

Volunteering tasks do not run at Ten Acre Wood over the spring and summer.

 

Volunteering tasks do not run at Compton Copse over the spring and summer.

 

Volunteering tasks do not run at Bealeswood Common over the spring and summer.