Volunteer with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Quantock and Blackdown
The Quantock and Blackdown Hills are designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), which means their distinctive character, natural beauty and cultural heritage are so outstanding that they are protected nationally.
The small teams that manage these areas are able to offer a number of volunteering opportunities. Whether you're looking to get involved in hands on practical tasks, wildlife surveys or working with community groups, there is something for everyone to be a part of.
The Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have a dedicated team who work to conserve and enhance the landscapes, natural and cultural heritage of this wonderful area. Volunteering with these teams is a great opportunity to explore the outdoors and because of the wide range of roles there is something for everyone to get involved with.
The roles are flexible and can fit around your requirements with some requiring involvement 2 days a year through to some when volunteers are keen to come out 2 – 3 times a week. Some examples of current roles are:
Heritage Monument Surveyors: These volunteers monitor the Scheduled Monuments within the AONB, carrying out two surveys per year (summer and winter) which are fed directly into Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ Programme. They range from the widely know sites such as Trendle Ring, Dowsborough Hill Fort and Dead Woman’s Ditch to the small barrows and cairns hidden amongst the heather on the Northern Commons. These surveys can be undertaken when you’re out for a stroll!
Volunteer Rangers: Our volunteer rangers are the eyes and ears on the ground, assisting with the management of key sites and promoted routes by carrying out regular checks, litter picking, encouraging good behaviour and reporting on areas needing remedial actions such as fallen trees or broken gates. These volunteers therefore can often be found talking to visitors; being a friendly face to offer local knowledge and advice about the AONB. They are also involved in our events programme, representing the AONB at local shows and fetes and giving talks to local interest groups. We host a monthly meetup for the Volunteer Rangers, where they get together to undertake a varied range of activities such as hedge laying, walks and surveying.
Community Engagement Volunteer: Community Engagement Volunteers play an important role in our outreach programme. They help with activities that raise awareness of the natural environment and the local history of the AONBs. They encourage visitor involvement and engagement by assisting with various activities, visits and events.
Biodiversity Surveyors: Biodiversity surveying is a key part of conserving and enhancing the AONBs rich flora and fauna. Volunteers play a vital role in helping the AONB understand the biodiversity which is within the AONB and plan how to best manage it. There are various different biodiversity surveying roles within the AONBs including adder, nightjar, butterfly and bat surveying.