Celebrating our volunteers this Volunteers’ Week

volunteers week logo celebrating 40 years

At Earth Trust, volunteers are the heartbeat of our charity. Passionate changemakers, they dedicate their time and energy to support our mission of championing accessible natural green spaces where nature and people thrive in harmony.

As we celebrate Volunteers’ Week, we’re shining a spotlight on these individuals who have such a huge impact as part of our community, and inspire others to make a difference too.

Connecting volunteer communities for change

Earth Trust is lucky to have an incredible community of 212 volunteers. These dedicated individuals come from diverse backgrounds and bring a variety of skills and experiences to the charity.

Their motivations for volunteering with us are as varied as they are: some seek to learn new skills or gain work experience, others enjoy the social benefits of making new friends, improving their health or wellbeing, some simply wish to make a contribution to their local community. Whatever their reason, they’re united by a shared passion for nature and accessible green spaces.

Our volunteers are engaged in a whole range of activities that underpin our work. From maintaining wildflower meadows to welcoming visitors, out in the woodland and inside the classroom, their combined efforts play a crucial role in connecting people with the natural world.

Sharing skills and knowledge is a key aspect of our volunteer programme.

Scything & raking footpath

Hedgelaying volunteers

Miles of hedgerows

Hedgelaying is a traditional craft practiced by a skilled group of our volunteers from autumn to spring every year. They carefully cut and weave trees and shrubs to create thick hedgerows that provide habitats for small mammals and birds. This process not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of our landscapes but also boosts biodiversity.

Bill, Martin, and Mike, three of our dedicated hedgelaying volunteers, exemplify the spirit of teamwork and dedication.

Mike, who started volunteering in retirement, says, “Every bit is different, it’s hard work but it looks good when we’re finished.” Martin, who joined with no prior hedgelaying skills, highlights the conservation aspect: “Once we’re finished, the hedges are so much more valuable to wildlife.”

Keeping our woodlands wonderful

In order to best manage the 130 hectares of woodland in our care, we need to know more about them.

Volunteer Forester, Caroline Gregory, helps us with tree surveys which, she explains, has allowed her to work with others and answered a yearning to get under the skin of Earth Trust’s woodlands:

“I like to know why we’re doing things, so I really like the surveying and measuring side. Learning more about the forest and collecting data really augments the work I do in the Thursday Land Management volunteer group.”

Tree survey training

A sense of community

Volunteering offers great opportunities for socialising and creating new friendships, so critical to our mental health and wellbeing. At Earth Trust our regular volunteer groups facilitate that sense of connection, and we host events through the year to bring our diverse teams of volunteers together.

For Debbie Lewington, a great love for wildlife and beautiful places, history and archaeology led to a desire to ‘be a part of the Clumps story’. Now a regular member of the Centre gardening group, Debbie’s experience is a testament to the personal and communal benefits of volunteering:

“Being involved at Earth Trust has been a considerable aid in connecting with the world. I feel very much at home with the Earth Trust ‘family’; welcomed and appreciated.”

Diverse roles and lasting impact

Sally Wehmeier’s experience highlights that variety is definitely the spice of volunteering life at Earth Trust. “I initially signed up to look out for sheep on the Wittenham Clumps,” she says, “and since then I’ve done pretty much everything over the years from marshalling races and pressing apples to weaving wreaths.”

Our volunteer roles range  from Earth Trust Ambassadors who help us reach local communities and raise funds, to event support and office admin. This diversity allows us to engage people with different interests and backgrounds, enriching our community and broadening our impact.

Thank you volunteers!


As we celebrate Volunteers’ Week, we extend our heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers.

Your dedication and hard work are the pillars of Earth Trust. You not only help us achieve our goals but also inspire others to join in our mission to champion access and engagement with natural green spaces for everyone, so that together we take action for people and planet.

To anyone considering volunteering, advice from coppicing expert volunteer, Colin, is: “Stop thinking about it, and give it a go. There’s much to gain from being outdoors, getting some physical activity, and working with like-minded individuals towards a common goal.”

Mike, a volunteer for over five years, captures the essence of volunteering at Earth Trust: “I love the variety in the types of work that we do, as well as just being outside. It’s very satisfying and rewarding being involved in maintaining local green spaces. You get to learn new skills and use them for real.”

If you’re inspired by our volunteers’ stories and want to make a difference, please take a look at the various volunteer opportunities at Earth Trust. Together, we can continue to nurture and enhance our natural green spaces for future generations. Happy Volunteers’ Week!

Volunteer stories…

  • Meet Earth Trust’s volunteer hedgelayers

    Around Earth Trust Farm, community reserves and even in our car parks you may notice that many of our hedges are “laid”. We spoke to three of our hedgelaying volunteers, Bill, Martin and Mike, to find out more.
  • A guide to our volunteer tour guide!

    Andy Heelas joined Earth Trust as a volunteer in February 2020 and leads guided tours of Earth Trust's green spaces.
  • Meet Earth Trust’s volunteer photographer

    Gemma is a Volunteer Photographer at Earth Trust. We're privileged to have such a skilled artist on hand to capture and share some of our activities and landscapes.
  • The spice of volunteering life

    From counting sheep to frothing coffees, volunteering variety at Earth Trust has been the spice of life for Sally.
  • Meet the volunteers: Liz and Mike Towndrow

    Retirement often opens up a world of possibilities. Liz and Mike share their story of how they discovered the value of volunteering with Earth Trust.
  • Volunteer Profile: Steve Nixon

    Earth Trust’s land management volunteers share their time and passion to help care for our natural green spaces for everyone to enjoy. Steve is a butterfly counter and Volunteer Warden at Wallingford Castle Meadows.
  • Every day’s a school day

    New volunteer Erica Fairhurst shares her experience of volunteering, and learning, with Earth Trust.
  • Volunteering at the Earth Trust office

    We’re fortunate to work with people who give up their time to support our office-based teams, like Julia who works with our Volunteer Office as a clerical and administration support.
  • Satisfying that sense of purpose

    Volunteer Debbie Lewington shares how a search for a sense of purpose led her to Earth Trust.
  • Feathers and forecasts: Exploring bird life in Britain’s ever-changing climate

    In the face of climate change and biodiversity loss, 1 in 8 bird species at risk of extinction. Monitoring can offer hope; tracking progress and showing which conservation actions have the best impact.
  • Volunteer profile: Chris Phillips

    Four years ago Chris Phillips became a Trustee. "As a retired head teacher, I have taken a keen interest in the environmental education programme at Earth Trust".
  • Modern biodiversity monitoring

    Meet Matthew Wilcoxson, a long-standing volunteer and newest member of the biodiversity monitoring project team.
  • We are very grateful to ASDA Foundation, Doris Field Charitable Trust, Nineveh Charitable Trust, Sandra Charitable Trust, South Oxfordshire District Council for their support of our 2024-25 volunteer programme.