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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

Wednesday 6 October

Clearing scrub to create an open glade. We will burn the cuttings on a bonfire. We will be working until 3pm today, so please bring lunch if you wish to stay for the afternoon.

Meet at halfway bench nr Nutshell Ln (L8 – fortified.either.pythons) 

Wednesday 13 October

Clearing scrub to create an open glade. We will burn the cuttings on a bonfire. We will be working until 3pm today, so please bring lunch if you wish to stay for the afternoon.

Meet at New Swallow Hole - East of Oast House (G10 – complains.that.exact)

Wednesday 20 October

Scrub clearance and glade creation, with a bonfire.

Meet at New Swallow Hole- East of Oast House (G10 – complains.that.exact)

Wednesday 27 October

Aquatic vegetation management and scrub bash.

Meet at Carron Pond (H3 – convinced.debating.cuff)

Wednesday 3 November

Clearing scrub and investigating a lost pillbox. We will burn the cuttings on a bonfire.

Meet at Carron Pond (H3 – convinced.debating.cuff)

Wednesday 10 November

Scrub clearance and management of the woodland edge habitat. We will burn the cuttings on a bonfire.

Meet at South of Cross Bench (L2 –florists.leaps.shifts)

Wednesday 17 November

Scrub clearance and management of the woodland edge habitat. We will burn the cuttings on a bonfire.

Meet at Phoebe’s Copse (J4 – thuds.known.centrally)

Wednesday 24 November

Scrub clearance and management of the woodland edge habitat. We will burn the cuttings on a bonfire.

Meet at West of Oak plantation (M6 – Jousting.journals.lighters)

Wednesday 1 December

Scrub clearance and woodland management. We will brin the cuttings on a bonfire. We will be working until 3pm today, so please bring lunch if you wish to stay for the afternoon.

Meet at College Copse (E8 – firmly.games.blend)

Wednesday 8 December

Scrub clearance and woodland management. We will brin the cuttings on a bonfire. We will be working until 3pm today, so please bring lunch if you wish to stay for the afternoon.

Meet at College Copse (E8 – firmly.games.blend)

Wednesday 15 December

Cutting back encroaching vegetation from path edges.

Meet at Bear Lane entrance (A1 – ropes.limits.catching)

Wednesday 22 December

Coppicing hazel to promote fresh growth and harvest materials for next month’s hedge laying. A Christmas lunch of jacket potatoes cooked on the bonfire will be provided.

Meet at Nutshell Lane (M8 – those.leathers.communal)

Wednesday 29 December

No task.

Wednesday 5 January

Hedge laying – continuing with this traditional craft to improve the Park’s hedges for wildlife. We will have a bonfire to burn the cuttings.

Meet at the Avenue east (D9 – exists.mixer.drape)

Wednesday 12 January

Continuing with the hedge laying stated earlier in the month. We will have a bonfire to burn the cuttings.

Meet at the Avenue east (D9 – exists.mixer.drape)

Wednesday 19 January

Continuing with the hedge laying stated earlier in the month. We will have a bonfire to burn the cuttings.

Meet at the Avenue east (D9 – exists.mixer.drape)

Wednesday 26 January

Continuing with the hedge laying stated earlier in the month. We will have a bonfire to burn the cuttings.

Meet at the Avenue east (D9 – exists.mixer.drape)

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.

Wednesday 6 October

Gorse clearance: Continuing with gorse clearance and coppicing, an essential part of routine heathland management and fire risk management. We’ll be removing certain stands, and coppicing others to help encourage a healthy species mix in the heath.

We’ll be working in multiple areas, so please contact us on 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 20 October

Gorse clearance: Continuing with gorse clearance and coppicing, an essential part of routine heathland management and fire risk management. We’ll be removing certain stands, and coppicing others to help encourage a healthy species mix in the heath.

We’ll be working in multiple areas, so please contact us on 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 27 October

Gorse clearance: Continuing with gorse clearance and coppicing, an essential part of routine heathland management and fire risk management. We’ll be removing certain stands, and coppicing others to help encourage a healthy species mix in the heath.

We’ll be working in multiple areas, so please contact us on 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 3 November

Gorse clearance: Continuing with gorse clearance and coppicing, an essential part of routine heathland management and fire risk management. We’ll be removing certain stands, and coppicing others to help encourage a healthy species mix in the heath.

We’ll be working in multiple areas, so please contact us on 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 17 November

Gorse clearance: Continuing with gorse clearance and coppicing, an essential part of routine heathland management and fire risk management. We’ll be removing certain stands, and coppicing others to help encourage a healthy species mix in the heath.

We’ll be working in multiple areas, so please contact us on 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 24 November

Gorse clearance: Continuing with gorse clearance and coppicing, an essential part of routine heathland management and fire risk management. We’ll be removing certain stands, and coppicing others to help encourage a healthy species mix in the heath.

We’ll be working in multiple areas, so please contact us on 01483 523394 for meeting information and to be added to the Frensham volunteer e-mail list.

Wednesday 1 December

Scrub clearance: Today we will start on that ubiquitous heathland task - scrub clearance. We will clear small pine and birch trees to pause the successional clock and maintain the open heathland habitat so important for our rare and endangered wildlife.

We’ll be working across the site but starting on the Flashes - meet at 10:15 by Axe Pond (what3words - scrapping.dollar.jars, grid ref- SU 8673 4018). Please park responsibly on the roadside on Sandy Lane or alternatively on Jumps Road to the south, follow the bridleway up. 

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.

Wednesday 13 October

Scrub clearance: We will clear scrub and young trees from the heathland to maintain its open shrubby character.

Wednesday 10 November

Scrub clearance: We will continue with clearing scrub and young trees from the heathland to benefit the specialist wildlife it supports.

Sunday 5 December

Cut your own Christmas tree! We will spend the morning between 10:00 and 13:00 clearing scrub from the heathland. You will then be free to select, cut, and take away your own Scots pine Christmas tree. There is no charge but places are limited and booking is essential. Places must be booked by Friday 26 November. You are required to attend the morning's scrub clearance session to get a tree.

To book a place please e-mail Vicky at vicky.keller@waverley.gov.uk or phone 01483 523394

Wednesday 8 December

Scrub clearance: Another day of clearing scrub and small trees from the heathland to maintain this valuable habitat in an optimal condition for the rare wildlife which depend on it.

Wednesday 12 January 

Scrub clearance: Continuing with clearing invading scrub and small trees from the important heathland habitat.

Wednesday 9 February

Scrub clearance: Our final day of clearing scrub and small trees from the heathland before the bird breeding season starts, and the heathland wildlife takes advantage of our good work.

Sunday 13 February

Scrub clearance – we will clear encroaching young trees and scrub from the heathland in order to preserve its open shrubby character.

Meet 10:00 at the small parking area off Roke Lane GU8 5NZ (SU 936 399).

Session led by Vicky

Volunteer sessions take place on the second Wednesday of every month, from 10am-3pm. Sessions led by Darren.

Wednesday 13 October

Scrub clearance: This year we will be focusing on habitat management works across three compartments on Blackheath. We will be kept busy clearing birch and pine scrub, coppicing gorse, creating bare ground patches and pushing back encroaching woodland edges to maintain the open heathland habitat that makes Blackheath so special.

We will be meeting at 10:00 at the Littleford Lane car park before heading down to the work area near to TQ 03694 580 (what3words - finer.venue.magic)

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

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

Tuesday 19 October

Pond maintenance – we will be removing some of the vegetation from the pond to increase the area of open water, and also cutting back vegetation from the pondside path.

Meet at the pond by Kiln Copse, Summerlands, GU6 7BW

Tuesday 26 October

Pond maintenance – we will be collecting the vegetation removed from the pond last week, and continuing with cutting back overhanging vegetation from the path.

Meet at the pond by Kiln Copse, Summerlands, GU6 7BW

Tuesday 16 November

Path maintenance – we will spread woodchip on the path around the pond.

Meet at the pond by Kiln Copse, Summerlands, GU6 7BW

Tuesday 23 November

Path maintenance and habitat pile creation – we will finish off adding woodchip to the path and then create log piles for newts and wildlife to hide in.

Meet at the pond by Kiln Copse, Summerlands, GU6 7BW

Tuesday 14 December

Bench installation and hazel coppicing – we will be installing a couple of benches and coppicing hazel alongside a path.

Meet at the end of Rydelands, GU6 7DX

Tuesday 11 January

Woodland management - clearing brambles, holly and cherry laurel from the woodland to open up space for wildflowers

Meet beside the road at the north end of Slip of Wood, Summerlands, GU6 7BE

Tuesday 25 January

Woodland management - clearing brambles, holly and cherry laurel from the woodland to open up space for wildflowers

Meet beside the road at the north end of Slip of Wood, Summerlands, GU6 7BE

Tuesday 8 February

Woodland management - clearing brambles, holly and cherry laurel from the woodland to open up space for wildflowers.

Meet beside the road at the north end of Slip of Wood, Summerlands, GU6 7BE

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

Saturday 15 January

Holly clearance – we will be clearing some of the dense stands of holly from the woodland to make space for young trees and other woodland plants to germinate.

Meet 10:00 at the corner of Clifton Close, off Boundstone Road, Farnham, GU10 4TP (SU 832 437).

Session led by Vicky

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

Saturday 20 November

Holly clearance – we will be clearing stands of dense holly to give other woodland trees and plants more space and light.

Meet 10:00 at the small parking area off Old Compton Lane, Farnham, GU9 8EG (SU 859 462).

Session led by Vicky

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

Sunday 17 October

Holly clearance – we will be clearing holly from the woodland to increase light levels and make space for woodland flowers.

Meet 10:00 at the noticeboard at the end of the lane from the Bluebell pub, GU10 4EX (SU 822 410)

Session led by Vicky

Lower Hanger Wood

 

Sunday 21 November

Cherry laurel clearance – we will be clearing invasive cherry laurel from the woodland to stop it taking over at the expense of native species.

Meet 10:00am at the eastern-most layby on Lower Hanger road, Haslemere GU27 1LU (SU 876 329)

Session led by Vicky

 

Shackleford Common

 

Sunday 16 January

Sycamore clearance – we will be clearing a dense patch of young sycamore to stop it taking over at the expense of other species.

Meet 10:00 at the car park off the Elstead road, just east of the junction with Peper Harow Lane, GU8 6AY (SU 935 445)

Session led by Vicky