Practical Conservation Tasks

Volunteers help the Dedham Vale National Landscape staff team on conservation projects to increase the biodiversity within the National Landscape and wider project areas in the Stour Valley.

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 Dedham Vale National Landscape fulfil its commitment to the Colchester Declaration.


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

2024 Practical Conservation Volunteering Programme

Wednesday 27th March - Various Tasks

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

Location: Clare Castle Country Park

Task Leader: Emma Black

Wednesday 3rd April - Dead Hedging / Tree Aftercare

Help create dead hedging along the river where the bank is eroding and do some tree aftercare on some recently planted trees.

Location: Kedington

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 5th April - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Shelley / Higham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Wednesday 10th April - Pond Fencing/ Stag Beetle Pyramids 

Remove and replace the fence around the pond and create some stag beetle pyramids at this lovely community site.

Location: Langham

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 12th April - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Shelley / Higham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Wednesday 17th April - Tools Maintenance

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 19th April - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Shelley / Higham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Wednesday 24th April - Tree Aftercare

Help Clare Combined Charity to do some tree aftercare on recently planted hedges and woodland trees. 

Location: Upper Common, Clare

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 3rd May - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Layham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Wednesday 8th May - Black Poplar Nursery

Help do some TLC on our clone trees and remove plastic matting from the old nursery to create more space for clone trees.

Location: Alphamstone

Task Leader: Emma Black


Wednesday 15th May - Stag Beetle Pyramid Building

Build homes for stag beetles - one of our Nature Recovery priority species.

Location: Assington Mill

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 17th May - Tree Aftercare

Location: Dairy Farm / Chelsworth

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Wednesday 22nd May - Path Clearance/ditch clearance

Clear paths for easy access around this reserve and clear a ditch so water can flow to a pond at this beautiful Essex Wildlife Trust Reserve.

Location: Loshes Reserve, Henny

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 31st May - Balsam Control

Location: River Brett

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Friday 14th June - Balsam Control

Location: River Brett

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Friday 28th June - Balsam Control

Location: River Brett

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Wednesday 3rd July - Meadow Cut & Rake/ Himalayan Balsam Pulling

An early part cut of the meadow will help suppress some of the vigorous plants and pulling up Himalayan Balsam will reduce the amount left on this site.

Location: Daws Hall

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 12th July - Balsam Control

Location: River Brett

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Wednesday 17th July - Bracken Removal

Cut bracken back from newly planted trees for dormice to ensure they thrive.

Location: Tiger Hill, Assington

Task Leader: Emma Black


Wednesday 31st July - Wildflower Patches Cut & Rake

Help local wildlife group cut and rake wildflower areas in the parish.

Location: Steeple Bumpstead

Task Leader: Emma Black


Wednesday 14th August - Wet Meadow Management

Cutting the meadow and removing the cut material will encourage wildflowers such as the early marsh orchid at this County Wildlife Site.

Location: Rum Bridge Fisheries, Clare

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 16th August - tbc

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Wednesday 21st August - Sedge Cutting

Cutting the meadow and removing the cut material will encourage wildflowers such as the early marsh orchid at this County Wildlife Site.

Location: Foxearth Meadows Local Nature Reserve

Task Leader: Emma Black


Wednesday 28th August - Grassland Management

An annual cut & rake at this medieval green will maintain populations of early marsh orchids and greater birds foot trefoil.

Location: Long Melford Green CWS

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 30th August - tbc

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Wednesday 11th September AM - Meadow Management

A cut & rake at this Local Nature Reserve will ensure wildflowers such as greater knapweed, scabious and agrimony flourish next year.

Location: Harpers Hill, Nayland                         

Task Leader: Emma Black


Wednesday 11th September PM - Pond Clearance

Help remove overgrown plants from the pond at this lovely community site.

Location: Eden Rose Coppice, Sudbury                    

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 13th September - tbc

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Wednesday 18th September - Green Lane Management

Cutting and removing the grass will help wildflowers like uncommon sulphur / strawberry clover thrive at this County Wildlife Site.

Location: Buntry Lane, Kedington

Task Leader: Emma Black


Wednesday 25th September - Meadow Management

A cut and rake of this community meadow site will ensure a wonderful display of wildflowers next year.             

Location: Coes Meadow, Bulmer            

Task Leader: Emma Black

Friday 27th September - Leaky Dam Building

Location: Tiger Hill, Assington

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 11th October - Rhododendron / Snowberry Control

Location: Polstead

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 25th October - Rhododendron Control

Location: East Bergholt

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 8th November - Rhododendron Control

Location: East Bergholt

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 22nd November - tbc

Location: Arger Fen

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Friday 6th December - tbc

Location: Arger Fen

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 20th December - Hedge Planting & Aftercare

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Friday 17th January - Hedge Planting & Aftercare

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 31st January - Hedge Planting & Aftercare

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 14th February - tbc

Location: tbc

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Friday 28th February - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Shelley / Higham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz


Friday 14th March - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Shelley / Higham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

Friday 28th March - Giant Hogweed Control

Location: Shelley / Higham

Task Leader: Alex Moore da Luz

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