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What do volunteers do?

There are several ways in which you can get involved as a volunteer:

  • Volunteering outdoors on practical conservation work and access improvement
  • Monitoring the condition of the South Downs Way National Trail, or other access in the Area
  • Volunteering on office-based projects

We aim to make the activities you are involved in as a volunteer engaging, interesting and satisfying.

Outdoor Volunteers

Volunteers carry out both practical conservation and public relations work; the balance varies slightly according to the area, the season and your areas of expertise. Volunteers also provide advice and guidance to visitors.

Typical tasks:

  • Chalk grassland and heathland conservation
  • Woodland management
  • Hedgelaying
  • Improving public access
  • Surveys of flora and fauna
  • Attending public events


Volunteers receive task-focused training  from staff and volunteer leaders, as well as classroom-based training course that all recruits are asked to undertake. Courses are held annually and provide a broad introduction to countryside management and conservation.

Training available to volunteers includes:

  • Introduction to Countryside Management & countryside organisations
  • Practical Conservation
  • Countryside legislation
  • Public access to the countryside
  • Geography, History and Ecology of the Downs
  • Incident Handling/ Public Relations skills
  • Health and Safety

South Downs Way Volunteer Wardens

Volunteers support with monitoring the condition of footpaths, bridleways, statutory ‘Open Access’ areas along a specific trail, or on a section of the South Downs Way. Once or twice a year volunteers will be asked to report on any problems they find during their surveys. Full training will be provided.