Volunteer on the North Downs Way

The North Downs Way National Trail operates on a very tight budget and without the time, energy and enthusiasm of our volunteer network we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. Volunteering is great for meeting new people, learning new skills and getting out into the countryside for health and wellbeing. If you’d like to get involved our volunteer roles are very flexible and can be as involved or hands-off as suits. Training and resources are provided and we’re always keen to hear from people who are as passionate about the trail as we are. 

We have 2 types of Volunteer on the Trail; Ambassadors- trained walk and event leaders to arrange and deliver events on the trail and Wardens who carry out surveys and audits and low-level jobs like way marking and tidying up fingerposts.

Ambassadors

If you like walking, storytelling and have good local knowledge of the history and countryside and would like to learn how to lead organised walks & talks on and around the North Downs Way National Trail you could be a perfect North Downs Way Ambassador. Walks can be as formal or as informal as you like and you’ll have the opportunity to create events to suit you. We will provide FREE maps & resources to help you plan your events to encourage people with little or no experience of countryside walking. If you think you would make a good ambassador and have the capacity to lead periodic walks (4-6 per year) please get in touch via email to peter.morris@kentdowns.org.uk briefly describing why you think you’d be a good ambassador and what kind of walks or events you would deliver to engage more people with the North Downs Way.

Our Training Sessions will include:

  • Insurance & Health and Safety aspects of walk & event leading
  • Background on the North Downs Way- natural history/ military and cultural heritage, myths and legends.
  • Seasonal walks- bluebells in spring/ winter warmers and summer flowers
  • What makes for a good walk- how to ensure everyone has a good time
  • Planning your walk; including getting to/ from the event and refreshment stops

You Will Receive:

  • FREE National Trail Guide Book & AZ Map of the North Downs Way
  • Hi-Viz Vest and
  • Ambassadors Toolkit

If leading groups isn’t your thing you could become a Volunteer Warden

Wardens

The aim of the Wardens is to help the Trail Manager and the local authority teams to monitor and maintain the Trail. Wardens are assigned a section (or sections depending on capacity and demand) of the Trail, preferably close to where they live or work. We ask Wardens to walk their section periodically and make a record of any issues: take a pic, a location reference and details of the issue and report back to the Trail Manager. Wardens are our “eyes and ears” on the trail and vital in ensuring maintenance issues are logged and completed.

Wardens will:

  • Walk their section of the Trail either in shorter pieces or in one go with the aim of walking the whole section 3 or 4 times each year to give seasonal conditions. 
  • Record any work necessary to rights of way furniture, trail surfaces, adjacent vegetation and other National Trail facilities along with any other issues affecting the use or experience enjoyed by users
  • Wardens will preferably log all issues onto the relevant online reporting portal to allow works to be allocated to officers and prioritised.
  • Carry out minor repair or maintenance works along the Trail such as replacing waymark arrows, trimming back vegetation or picking up small amounts of litter. 
  • Report any emergencies such as a fallen tree blocking the Trail immediately.
  • Report any inappropriate or antisocial behaviour and illegal use of the Trail, and report any incidences to the Trail Manager.

Wardens may choose to get involved with PR events and users surveys.

This role is ideal for anyone who enjoys a walk with an eye for detail to identify and report issues alone or in a small group to help keep the trail in good order. Online training and a small toolkit is provided as required.

If either of these roles interest you please send a short email to  pete.morris@kentdowns.org.uk in the subject matter be sure to indicate which role you are interested in “North Downs Way Warden/ Ambassador” (or both!)

Other Volunteering Opportunities

We work with many Volunteers along the trail who undertake regular task works such as scrub clearance, building steps and carrying out drainage works. Without these groups, the trail wouldn’t be able to operate. If the roles above aren’t your thing and you fancy getting more hands-on please look up volunteer opportunities close to where you live:

Surrey Countryside Management Partnerships

Lower Mole Project (Dorking and surrounds)

Downlands Project (East Surrey) 

Other

Surrey Wildlife Trust

National Trust

Kent Countryside Management Partnerships

North West Kent CMP

Medway Valley CMP

Kentish Stour CMP

White Cliffs, Folkestone & Romney Marsh CMP

Other

Kent Wildlife Trust

National Trust

 

 

Volunteer Login