Volunteer on the Thames Path
Volunteers perform a vital role in helping inform us of problems and helping us to maintain The Thames Path through an ongoing programme of monitoring, maintenance and improvements.
There are various opportunities for volunteers. Practical tasks include vegetation clearance, installation, and repair of signs, gates and bridges and some workshop tasks. Led by staff from the National Trails team, tasks take place most weekdays covering the Trail from its Source up to Marlow. All tools and training are provided, and the tasks are a good way to meet like-minded people.
Tasks the practical volunteer team get involved with:
Out on the Trail – Practical
In the Workshop
Out on the Trail – Monitoring
There are also opportunities to become a volunteer ‘monitor’ by adopting a 3-5 mile section of the Trail. Monitors walk their section at least once every 3 months, and after extreme weather conditions and report what any issues they see to us via a dedicated website reporting system. We particularly welcome volunteers who live or work locally to these sections because it minimises travel costs and carbon.
Volunteer practical tasks
Unfortunately we currently do not have any vacancies within our practical volunteering team.
Sadly at this time we are not currently looking for any volunteer monitors along the Thames Path. Please check again in January 2024.
Please read the documents below and, if you wish to register your interest in volunteering on the Thames Path, please email us at NT.Volunteers@oxfordshire.gov.uk. We will respond to applications as soon as possible.
Another busy year out on the Trail!
The volunteers have been busy!
Mark Robbins has volunteered for the Thames Path and The Ridgeway National Trails for the past 25 years, and we wanted to find out more about his experience of working on the Trails and what it has meant - and still means - to him.
‘It was a spur of the moment thing. I was walking in the Uffington Fort on The Ridgeway – a lovely day on the Berkshire Downs, and as I was coming down the slope towards the Vale of the White Horse I saw tacked to a gatepost a notice that read ‘Do you want to volunteer for the Trail’ with a phone number. I’d just gone freelance and was enjoying life so much more. It was my first step into the world of volunteering and this became a significant part of my life. It pointed towards a future direction with volunteering and eventually would lead me to setting up my own charity. Now I’m full time charity manager for The Freshwater Foundation giving out small amounts of money to small community and charity groups – helping them to start up or help established groups develop successfully.
So, there were ripples from that original step into volunteering that have made an impact on Mark’s life. Mark remembers his very first task which was at Kelmscott on the Thames Path on a horrible, cold, grey and damp late November day. The task was to install a heavy old wooden kissing gate, this would be around the beginning of the Thames Path’s life as a National Trail in 1996. Despite the weather Mark returned for a second task, this time brush cutting at Sonning Lock – this was a lot more enjoyable.
‘ I love the Chilterns and the Thames and I’d done a lot of walking in those areas so the associations were very special. Whitchurch and Goring with lovely views over the Thames Valley and the Vale of the White Horse. There was the idea of giving something back.
The good hard physical labour – and satisfaction of a job well done – combatting the huge growth overwhelming the path, man versus nature! The camaraderie… everybody working really hard – and having a really good time’.
‘Since I started it has become more mechanised – using pole saws and brush cutters I have become more mechanically minded. When I first started I remember we’d had a workshop and on the Sunday I broke not 1, or 2 but 3 pieces of equipment.. then I was put to doing plain creosoting!
I’ve taught computer science and data analysis – and I’ve used these skills to work on analysing National Trail web audiences to help inform the advertising strategies of the Trails.
Behind the hard work it is the true public spirit – people who care about putting something back- those are the sort of people I like the most. Being among ‘the public of spirit but light of heart -that’s something that’s increased over the years.’