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The participation of volunteers is essential to the running of Durlston Country Park National Nature Reserve, providing over 15,000 hours of volunteer time annually. Without all their commitment and dedication, we wouldn’t be able to achieve all the work we do.  

 

Volunteering with us is a great way to meet new friends, keep active, learn new skills and work in a beautiful location. More than 150 volunteers help make Durlston a very special place and whatever your skills or interests, we need your help! 

 

Here are a few examples of how you could get involved. For more information please get in touch by email durlston@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk or call the office on 01929 424443 

 

DUE TO COVID-19 SOME VOLUNTEER TASKS AND GROUPS ARE NOT CURRENTLY RUNNING SO PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION.

 

Volunteering

Conservation Work Groups Dry stone walling

Every week the Durlston Rangers run three volunteer work groups that carry out vital maintenance and conservation tasks around the Country Park. Joining one of these sessions is a great way to get some healthy exercise, enjoy the outdoors and learn about the Country Park.  

Work groups are held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:30 -12:30. Each week we send out an email detailing the task for the coming week, you can be added onto this email list and then you must book in for a session, so we can plan the work with the amount of people and social distancing in mind. 

 

The work consists of:  

Tuesday: The Pleasure Grounds Project - work to enhance the heritage, accessibility and habitat throughout the Victorian landscape of the park. 

Wednesday: General Conservation – habitat management, scrub cutting, path clearing, hedge-laying, fencing, stock management and surveying. 

Thursday: Dry-stone Walling – following the ancient craft of dry-stone walling volunteers help us to maintain over six miles of dry-stone wall across the Country Park, as well as reinstating the Victorian woodland walls.

Tasks are available for all ages and abilities, with equipment and training provided - just be prepared to get muddy!! 

Visitor Centre

 

 

Visitor Centre Volunteers 

Durlston Country Park welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year, with many of them visiting Durlston Castle and Visitor Centre. The castle, visitor centre and gallery is open everyday (except Christmas Day & Boxing Day) April - October 10:30 - 17:00 and November - March 10:30 - 16:00.  

This role involves greeting visitors, providing information, answering questions and taking money from shop sales. Training is given and a Ranger is always available to help out.

 

 

 

Roaming Rangers  

Roaming Rangers are the eyes and ears across the Country Park, supporting the Ranger team, providing information and actively encouraging people to engage with the nature. This is a good role for a people person with the ability to communicate with lots of different people in a positive way.  

There is no commitment to being a Roaming Ranger, it can be done as part of your regular dog walk, litter picking along a trail or focusing on a specie you are interested in. 

Fence maintenance

  

Work Placements  

Work placements are a great way to gain new skills, confidence and learn about the natural environment through a broad range of hands on experience. We run work placements throughout the year and are ideally suited for anyone looking at a career in working outdoors with wildlife and people, as well as Customer Service, Tourism and Public Engagement. 

Placements vary from 1 day every week to 1/2 weeks, we also have residential volunteers through the summer and Autumn/Winter months.  

There are many training opportunities within the placements so contact the Rangers office for more information. 

 

Become a ‘Sheddie’  

‘Everybody Needs a Shed’ was launched as part of the lottery funded ‘Durlston Pleasure Grounds’ Project. It is a new accessible, community work base to enable people of all ages and abilities to socialise, learn new skills and volunteer in support of Durlston Country Park. 

We welcome people with disabilities, dementia, social isolated people and other long-term health problems to try a variety of wood-working, gardening, crafts and DIY projects.  

The Sheddie’s help run sessions, with support from the Ranger team and bring new skills to the ever-growing shed community. Find out more here. https://www.durlston.co.uk/EveryoneNeedsAShed.aspx

Laying paving stones

 

Corporate Groups

Would you like to bring a group from your organisation to volunteer at Durlston? We can provide a fun and diverse selection of practical conservation tasks and activities tailored to your group’s needs. Corporate groups carry out essential conservation tasks, provide resources and support the Country Parks ethos. 

 

 

Dolphin Watch hut and volunteer

 

 

Photography 

We always welcome photos of Durlston, especially any featuring people, views, wildlife and activities. For all you budding photographers we have created a photo brief with some top tips to get you started.

We are always interested in old photos and information of the Country Park to add to our archive.

 

 Hurdle making

Education

Durlston is a superb outdoor classroom, with a wealth of opportunities to enhance the study of geography, science, history, art and much more. We receive dozens of visits by school groups each year, if you have knowledge about the natural world you want to pass on, get in touch and help us deliver and develop our education services. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events

Durlston hosts over 50 events each year including; mini beasts, beach cleans, green wood working, bushcraft, themed park runs, craft activities, local community events, plus much much more. 

Plant surveys

We are looking for people to help prepare and run events on and off site.

 

 

Surveys and Monitoring 

Surveys run throughout the year including, visitor, marine, Dolphin and seasonal bird, butterfly and wildflower surveys. 

 

 

Publicity, Social Media and Communications

We want as many people as possible to support and enjoy Durlston. You can help by creating posters for our events, promoting us online, putting up posters and generally being an ambassador for the Country Park.

Weather data entry

Computer Record Updates

A range of records and data need updating, analysing and reports written, much of which can be done from home. 

Durlston Neighbourcar 

Durlston Neighbourcar is a community lift sharing scheme aimed to help Swanage residents and visitors get up to Durlston. It is environmentally friendly, easy to use and a great way to make new friends. Those receiving lifts pay a contribution of 45p per mile to their driver to reimburse them for their trip. To register as a volunteer driver please use the contact details below.

 

Get In Touch

If you would like to help with any of these projects or have an idea of your own, please drop us a line, e-mail or come and see us at the Visitor Centre.

Take a look at the latest newsletter for specific projects needing your help.

Car parking is free when doing voluntary work for us - ask for a permit at the Visitor Centre.

For more information about volunteering at Durlston, download the information sheet below:

Volunteer Information Sheet and Volunteer Form