Volunteering

Ways to Help the Mendip Hills AONB

Sammy Fraser is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Blackdown Hills, all nationally protected as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. She will be working with each AONB team to help people get involved in these special areas

This is a great example of the three AONBs in Somerset working together for the environment and for the community. Sammy will work two days a week in the Mendip and Quantock Hills and then one day a week in the Blackdown Hills.

Young Rangers

The Mendip Hills AONB Young Ranger Scheme has been running since 2005. It is a two year programme with an intake of 15 young people from local schools aged 11-15. On completion of the programme the Young Rangers can move on to become Advanced Young Rangers.  Once they reach 18 years of age Advanced Young Rangers can become AONB Volunteer Rangers undertaking a range of tasks in the AONB.

The scheme aims to equip young people from local schools and the community to be the future guardians of this special and unique area. It provides them with the confidence, knowledge and skills to be able to promote, preserve and protect the special features of the AONB. We will provide them with life skills that are translatable in the real world and will enhance their future prospects. Finally, we want the scheme to be a life changing experience for them, providing a safe and fun experience that develops them as people.

What do we want them to understand?
· What special features the AONB is designated for
· What role the Mendips AONB unit plays
· The techniques and skills used to preserve and protect these features
· The value of the AONB for people, wildlife and heritage
· The human story of the AONB- past and present
· What makes a career in conservation?
· How to use the skills they have gained to enhance their future development

What do our Young Ranger’s get up to?
Our Young Ranger’s take part in a wide variety of activities during their time with us including first aid and navigation training, completion of the John Muir award, conservation tasks, wildlife surveys, adventure activities and community outreach work- and more!

Advanced Young Rangers
Our Advanced Young Rangers take on more responsibility, helping to run the Young Ranger scheme and gaining more experience to help them secure employment in the conservation sector.

Young Ranger Assistants
We have fantastic volunteers who help us run the sessions – providing support for the Volunteer Coordinator who runs the scheme.

July update from our Work Experience, Tom Pope

Since starting volunteering at the A.O.N.B. Unit I have taken part in various different tasks and activities. I have been on many practical tasks with the group of volunteers. A recent practical task I was a part of which took place at Tor woods, Wells. The task saw me and the group of volunteer’s team up with another group from the National Trust and we were tasked with the repair and upkeep of some of the steps along a footpath through the woods. Some of the other members of the group were given the task of litter picking along the footpath. When the steps were complete we finished off by cutting back some of the brambles and Hawthorne which was protruding onto the footpath to improve the general quality of the path.

I also got a taste of what it was like working in the office another week this was admittedly a slightly more mundane day however it is important to get the rounded picture of environmental work and some of this does include office work. I started off by having to gather some information on local schools and doctors surgeries so that the members of the team could distribute the booklets and information about their “Wild Day Out” event. I then put together some packs for the different schools that were included.

Another practical task that I took part in was the replacement of some styles along one of the walks across the top of the Mendips which was part of the Cheddar parish gates project. We were replacing the somewhat impractical and rundown stiles with metal gates as these were a lot easier to traverse for older or less physically abled walkers. The group was split up into 3 sub-groups 2 of which were working on replacing the stiles and the other group was trimming some of the overgrown brambles that were along the path to improve the quality of the path. Our group started by digging up the old stile which was relatively straight forward. We then had to dig a hole to cater to the size of the gate once the correct depth and width of the hole was found we then implanted the gates and filled in the hole around the gate.

Current volunteering opportunities are outlined below.  If there is nothing suitable for you at the moment why not sign up to our newsletter to hear about new volunteering opportunities and get other news about the AONB.

AONB Practical Task Volunteers

Our practical task volunteers carry out conservation tasks throughout the Mendip Hills AONB. No experience necessary, all instruction and tools supplied. Tasks are scheduled fortnightly on Wednesdays, 10.00am – 3.00pm. New volunteers are always welcome with a smile and tea & biscuits!

July to September Task Programme 2018 (PDF Download 170KB)

Booking is essential so we have the right amount of equipment and can contact volunteers with the latest information. If you would like further details please email to Mendip Volunteers or phone Sammy Fraser 01761 462338

AONB Events and Publicity Volunteers

Events and Publicity Volunteers represent the Mendip Hills AONB at shows and events, to provide information and advice to visitors. Volunteers will also be involved in distributing visitor leaflets and providing face to face contact with local partners and businesses. Volunteers are encouraged to put forward suggestions of events and in the development of the AONB Events Programme.

Events and Publicity Volunteer Role Outline

AONB Walk Leaders

Volunteer Walks Leaders assist the AONB Unit in promoting greater understanding of the landscapes, wildlife and heritage of the AONB through guided walks. Walks will be promoted through the AONB Events Programme and Walks Leaders are also involved in planning and developing new guided walks.

Volunteer Walks Leader Role Outline

 

AONB Volunteer Rangers

Our Volunteer Rangers provide a visible presence in the Mendip Hills AONB, to assist the AONB Unit in conserving, enhancing and promoting the appropriate use and enjoyment of the area. They provide a point of contact for visitors out on the ground and report back any issues to the AONB Unit.

Volunteer Ranger Role Outline

 

Hours Contributed

2017-18

Volunteer Rangers –  1,022
Practical Tasks Volunteers – 1,161
Volunteer Young Ranger Assistant – 123
Other groups/Individuals – 1,214

2016-17

Volunteer Rangers –  1,309
Practical Tasks Volunteers – 861
Volunteer Young Ranger Assistant – 91
Other groups/Individuals – 118

If you are aged 18 or over and think you might be interested in one of the above volunteering roles simply email us Mendip Hills AONB, Contact Us or fill out an Application Form and Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

To find out more about volunteering in the Quantock Hills AONB or Blackdown Hills AONB you can visit Quantock Hills AONB or Blackdown Hills AONB Volunteering