T: 01394 445225 E: [email protected]

Practical Conservation Tasks

Volunteers help the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) staff team on conservation projects to increase the biodiversity within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and wider project areas.

We hold regular conservation work days throughout the year. All you have to do is register as a volunteer and we will notify you when work days are happening so you can book your place on the task.

The volunteers regularly undertake practical conservation work. If you would like to work outdoors in the beautiful Dedham Vale, help your local environment and meet some new people, then why not join us!

We sometimes work on projects with community and corporate volunteers, so you may be working alongside such groups. Additional training is offered, for example in first aid, should you be interested.

You work for as long as you wish and at your own pace. Knowledge of landscape, heritage, wildlife and conservation is not needed, you can learn as you go along. All locations will have been risk-assessed beforehand and personal protective equipment is provided to ensure tasks are safe working environments.

Examples of jobs and tasks include:

  • Habitat management and creation
  • Biodiversity projects
  • Tree and hedge planting
  • Removing plastic tubes and guards from trees

These conservation initiatives are vital as they help the AONB fulfil its commitment to the Colchester Declaration, which is the AONB network’s response to the biodiversity crisis.

For more information on any of the volunteering opportunities and roles within the AONB, please contact Countryside Project Officer Emma Black or AONB Nature Recovery Officer Alex Moore da Luz.

2023-24 Practical Conservation Volunteering Programme

Wednesday 22nd November - Coppicing

Help coppice willow to create dense low habitat for warblers.

Location: Foxearth Meadows LNR, Liston

Friday 1st December - Hazel Layering and Coppicing

Location: Arger Fen Nature Reserve, Bures

Wednesday 6th December - Hedge Planting

Help plant hedgerows as part of the Hedgerow Heroes Project.

Location: tbc

Wednesday 13th December - Coppicing / Dead Hedging

Coppicing trees will create a more diverse habitat structure for nightingales.

Location: Assington Mill

Friday 15th December - Tree Planting

Location: Dairy Farm, Semer

Wednesday 3rd January - Hedgelaying

Work with local wildlife group to lay new hedge to create wildlife corridor.

Location: Steeple Bumpstead

Friday 5th January - Stag Beetle Pyramid Building

Location: East Bergholt

Friday 12th January - Tree Planting

Location: Diary Farm, Ash Street

Wednesday 17th January - Coppicing / Hedge Trimming

Coppice hazel & trim back willow to create bushier growth for wildlife.

Location: Tiger Hill, LNR

Friday 26th January - tbc

Location: Tiger Hill, Assington

Wednesday 31st January - Hedge Planting

Help plant hedgerows as part of the Hedgerow Heroes Project.

Location: tbc

Wednesday 7th February - Coppicing / Layering

Help manage this ancient woodland for dormice and nightingales.

Location: Arger Fen

Friday 9th February - tbc

Location: Tiger Hill, Assington

Wednesday 14th February - Coppicing

Coppice hazel stools to let light in and encourage more undergrowth for dormice.

Location: Loshes Nature Reserve, Henny

Wednesday 28th February - Pollarding

Pollard parent trees and strike rods to create new black poplar saplings.

Location: Black Poplar Nursery, Alphamstone

Friday 1st March - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Giffords Hall, Higham

Wednesday 6th March - Coppicing

Coppice hazel to encourage more undergrowth to grow at this community site.

Location: The Nuttery, Clare

Wednesday 13th March - Coppicing / Free the Trees

Coppicing & removing plastic tree tubes will help this wet wood regenerate

Location: Peter's Vale, Twinstead

Friday 15th March - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Giffords Hall, Higham

Wednesday 27th March - Various Tasks

Variety of habitat management tasks to help bring more wildlife into the park.

Location: Clare Castle Country Park

Friday 5th April - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: River Brett