Shore thing volunteers © DWT

Covid-19 update

Although the current situation is starting to change, with the announcement of a further reduction in the isolation period coming into force from next week, we have continued to see high numbers of cases across Dorset.
The Dorset Wildlife Trust Covid action team chaired by our Chief Executive has therefore made the decision that the restrictions on events, tasks and associated face to face meetings/gatherings (including volunteering activities) will continue for the next week. We will be reviewing the current situation on a weekly basis from hereon as it is anticipated that matters may change quickly in the coming weeks. 
Our apologies for any inconvenience caused by this. If you have any questions, contact us on volunteering@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Is volunteering right for me?

Volunteers come to us for all sorts of reasons: to do their bit, to get healthy, to stay healthy, for the social element, for fun, for the challenge, to learn new skills, to practice old skills, to prepare for the workplace, to help wildlife, to get out into the fresh air, to learn about wildlife, to carry on using skills during retirement - and occasionally it’s just to give it a go. We like to think that we have the ideal opportunity for everyone who comes to us – so why not put us to the test?

Scroll down the page to fill in our volunteering registration form. And you can sign up for our volunteering email here.

There are lots of different opportunities to volunteer with us, it's just a matter of choosing which ones you want to try. The main ones are: 

Wild Paths: Helping people into conservation careers

This scheme is now CLOSED for 2021 applications.  Click here to find out more about the Wild Paths scheme.

Working in the offices and visitor centres

Volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust needn't involve being outside, doing something manual or getting very muddy and wet!

There is a huge range of other tasks that may appeal to you indoors at our Headquarters near Dorchester, or any of our Visitor Centres

  • Organising events
  • Clerical support
  • Staffing reception
  • Data input
  • Carrying out research
  • Helping pack DWT newsletters into envelopes

There are also regular sessions at our Brooklands Farm HQ carrying out such tasks as the stuffing of newsletters, raffles and other bulk mailings into envelopes ready for delivery.

Contact: If you are able to volunteer for a regular session of perhaps one day a week, you may like to assist one of our teams with a specific project. Contact Susanna Holford to find out more at sholford@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Getting stuck in with our work parties

Join a conservation work party and help to manage our nature reserves across the county.

  • Mainly winter activities
  • A few sites host volunteer work parties throughout the year.
  • All sessions are led by experienced volunteers or Reserve Wardens
  • All tools provided for you.

Undertake active management tasks such as:

  • Path creation
  • Scrub clearance
  • Hedgelaying
  • Path clearance
  • Small pine removal.

The emphasis is for everyone to enjoy their time, in a safe environment, whilst carrying out work that will directly enhance the conservation aspects of the site.

  • Most work parties run from 10am until 3pm.
  • Ring the organiser beforehand to check.
  • Details of each event are in the DWT events guide or in the latest issue of Volunteering Alert.

Have a look at our current dates on the events page. We welcome new volunteers, phone or email us and come along! 

Contact Susanna Holford to find out more at sholford@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk


Carrying out wildlife surveys

Recording and monitoring of wildlife is an important part of our work across Dorset, from our Nature Reserves and Dorset's Sites of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) to the Living Landscape & Living Seas projects and your local community patch!

There are a number of ways you can be involved, depending on your interests, how much time you have, and how experienced you are at identifying wildlife.

If you have existing wildlife identification and survey skills, would like to contribute to the nature reserves recording and monitoring programme or are a regular recorder at any of our sites get in touch. There are also occasional opportunities to be trained for specific surveys which are advertised through the volunteer e-mail newsletter.

Contact details: Steve Masters on telephone 01305 217984 or email smasters@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Teambuilding days with work colleagues

There’s no better way to promote a sense of team identity and achievement than getting everyone outside and working together for the greater good.

Working for wildlife and nature promotes health and well-being too, we’ve seen it for ourselves, as we’ve been working with volunteers for nearly 60 years now.

Roll down your trouser legs (gorse is prickly) and grab some gloves from us and join us - out at some stunning reserves for a day of great work for wildlife. Find out more...


Volunteering with Local Groups

We have six Local Groups covering all of Dorset.  All Dorset Wildlife Trust members and also visitors are most welcome at group events.

The groups are run by volunteers who give their time, expertise and enthusiasm to organise events, fundraise and help raise the profile of DWT.

We’re looking for volunteers to serve on committees and to help with activities such as:

  • Organising walks and evening talks
  • Running stalls at local events
  • Fundraising for the Trust

More information on our Local Groups


Discover more - our volunteer handbook

Read our Volunteers' Blogs

Volunteering at Lorton Meadows by Sam Dallimore

Volunteering at Lorton Meadows by Sam Dallimore 

Meet the volunteer team near you

We have regional teams throughout Dorset. Feel free to contact them direct if you wish to discuss specific volunteering roles.

Sign up to our newsletter.

Susanna Holford - Volunteer Co-ordinator/ Placement Co-ordinator

Susanna Holford

Susanna Holford

Susanna is responsible for signposting new volunteers and liaising with enquiries about opportunities. She is often the first contact that online registrations have with the Trust.  She likes all wildlife and is particularly interested in wildlife gardening.

Susanna brings a wealth of experience to the team and represents Dorset Wildlife Trust at a number of Volunteer focus groups across the County. She is based alongside our East Dorset team at the Urban Wildlife Centre and so is very well placed to be our volunteering co-ordinator for the East & South Dorset regional teams.

Contact: Susanna Holford at sholford@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Sarah Pritchard - Brooklands HQ

Sarah Pritchard Administration Officer is the member of staff responsible for the Brooklands HQ Front of House Volunteers. Our volunteers provide a welcoming, friendly, first point of contact for members and public alike. Their main jobs include supporting the administration team with answering the phone, emailing messages, opening incoming mail and preparing outgoing mail. They also help with any admin jobs that arise such as helping to construct adoption packs and membership packs.

If you are interested please contact Sarah at spritchard@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.


Sarah Pritchard

Steve Masters - Reserves Recording & Monitoring

Steve Masters © Neil Gibson

Steve Masters © Neil Gibson

Steve works with the wardens and site staff across the area teams to make sure we have the wildlife data we need to manage our (non-marine) Nature Reserves. He is interested in hearing from anyone with existing wildlife identification and survey skills who would like to contribute to the nature reserves recording and monitoring programme, or from regular recorders at any of our sites. Occasional opportunities to be trained for specific surveys are advertised through the volunteer e-mail newsletter.

Contact details: Telephone 01305 217984 or email smasters@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Julie Hatcher - Marine Volunteers

Julie Hatcher

Julie Hatcher

Julie is the Marine Awareness Officer and manages the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre at Kimmeridge where she organises the team of volunteer marine wardens.

Kimmeridge Marine Volunteers: Please contact Julie Hatcher on 01929 481044 or email her for details of Kimmeridge marine volunteering opportunities at kimmeridge@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk 

Becky Atkinson-Mayes Urban Wildlife Volunteers, East Dorset

Becky Atkinson-Mayes

Urban Wildlife Volunteers: Meet on the second Thursday of the month at the Urban Wildlife Centre, Beacon Hill from May to August and every Thursday from September to April. A mix of practical tasks and survey work, there will be something to meet everybody’s needs.  For information on the Urban Wildlife Volunteers please contact Becky Atkinson-Mayes at batkinsonmayes@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk or the Urban Wildlife Centre on 01202 692033.


Luke Johns - Brownsea Island Volunteers

Luke Johns © Damian Garcia

Luke Johns © Damian Garcia

Luke is the Poole Harbour Reserves Officer, he runs regular work parties on Brownsea Island. ​​​​

Brownsea Volunteers: Meet on alternate Fridays from September and throughout winter helping with habitat management of this unique nature reserve. Contact Luke Johns (Poole Harbour Reserve Officer) for more information on 01202 709445 or email ljohns@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Ben Atkinson - North Dorset Volunteers

North Dorset Volunteers

North dorset Volunteers © S Oliver

Ben Atkinson is the North Dorset Volunteer Co-ordinator as well as being the North Dorset Reserves Warden. He is involved with survey/monitoring work in the Summer. In the Winter, tasks mainly involve habitat management. He always ensures that volunteering tasks are enjoyable, action-packed and fulfilling - so if that sounds like the sort of thing you want to be involved in, drop him a line!

North Dorset Volunteers:  Meet one Sunday every month throughout the year and various Wednesdays. Much of the work will involve keeping the downland clear of invasive scrub.

For details and to confirm the meeting point, please phone Ben Atkinson on tel: 07458 073878 or email him  at batkinson@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Lucy Ferris - West Dorset Volunteers

Lucy Ferris

Lucy Ferris

Lucy Ferris is the West Dorset Volunteer Co-ordinator as well as being the reserves warden for West Dorset. She runs regular volunteer work parties on our West Dorset nature reserves. 

West Dorset Volunteers: Meets every Tuesday from 10am until 4pm. Feel free to get in touch for more information if you are interested in helping the West Dorset wardens with a variety of practical management tasks.

For further details please contact Lucy on 07436 157488 or email her at lferris@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Nick Gray - Pastures New Volunteers

Nick Gray

Nick Gray

Nick Gray is the West Dorset Conservation Officer, he runs regular work parties which work with local landowners and farmers to restore and enhance wildlife-rich grassland.

THURSDAYS – PASTURES NEW: meet on Thursdays throughout the year (weekly in winter, fortnightly in the summer), for active conservation on wildlife-rich grasslands, hedgerows, woodlands and riverbanks. Based in West Dorset. Please contact Nick Gray for details on 07824438974 or email ngray@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

James Hitchen - South Dorset Volunteers

James Hitchen

James Hitchen

James is the reserves warden for South Dorset. He runs regular work parties on South Dorset nature reserves.

South Dorset Volunteers: Meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 10 am. Please note dates may vary occasionally so check our on-line events guide for up to date information. Join the Warden on a practical task and help to manage our South Dorset nature reserves. Booking is essential. 

For more details or to book please e-mail the South Dorset Warden James Hitchen on jhitchen@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk

Dan Bartlett - Lorton Meadows Volunteers

Dan Bartlett

Lorton Meadows: Meet fortnightly on Wednesdays at the Lorton Meadows Wildlife Centre 10am ­ 3pm. Tasks involve scrub clearance, path and gate clearance, fencing repairs.

For further details please contact  Dan Bartlett at dbartlett@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk.

Volunteering opportunities

Corporate Volunteering

Have you considered a day out with your work colleagues doing something worthwhile for nature? Join us for a teambuilding day to remember on one of our Nature Reserves.

Find out more

Volunteering events happening soon...

Volunteer registration form

Simply fill in this form to join us. We have lots of different opportunities available - we look forward to meeting you soon!

In ticking this box you consent to Dorset Wildlife Trust using your information for the purposes of this form and to send you information about conservation, fundraising, news, events and other activities by email. 
This information will be held on our secure database for the duration of your volunteering journey with us, and will only be used to enable us to provide the required duty of care to you whilst you are a volunteer for Dorset Wildlife Trust.  You may request for this data to be deleted at any time, and it will be automatically deleted as and when we are notified that you wish to be removed from our volunteering database.
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Useful downloads

If you would like to have a more in-depth read about volunteering with Dorset Wildlife Trust just click the relevant title below to download.

Get in touch

We really do value your feedback on our volunteering programme so please feel free to get in touch by phone on 01202 692033, Email us at volunteering@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk, find us on Twitter or Facebook - take your pick!

Sign up for our volunteering newsletter here