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Plymouth Natural Grid volunteering

Plymouth Natural Grid is a multi award winning partnership project between Plymouth City Council and National Trust that has been working to enhance biodiversity for wildlife and people, engage local communities and upskill young people in greenspaces across the city since 2021.

Plymouth Natural Grid has secured funding of £966,000 for a nature-based solutions project to continue our work to create healthy, thriving nature spaces in Plymouth. The programme is co-sponsored by BEIS and Defra and is led by Natural England in partnership with the Environment Agency, RBG Kew and the Forestry Commission. This will be a 15 partnership project between Plymouth City Council, National Trust and Natural England; creating and restoring habitats with local communities across 8 nature reserves in Plymouth and South Devon to address climate change.

The project will run between January 2023 and March 2024 and the team will consist of National Trust Rangers, Plymouth City Council officers and young apprentices.

Being a volunteer

The core aim of this volunteer programme is to support the project in delivering practical hands-on conservation measurements to enhance nature for people and wildlife in the reserves. Join a fun and experienced team to make a difference in your city!


WWe run sessions across four nature reserves in Plymouth: Radford Woods, Budshead Woods and Ham Woods. There may be opportunities to work on other sites across the city including Seaton Valley, Efford Marsh and Newham meadow when and if the project requires extra hands.

Volunteering times

This volunteer programme will rThis volunteer programme will run for 6 months between April - September. Our practical volunteer days take place every first and third Thursday of the month, 10.30am - 3.30pm, led by experienced National Trust Rangers.

First Thursdays of the month: Radford Woods and Budshead Woods

Third Thursdays of the month: Ham Woods

You can decide which site you would like to join for the day.

What the role might involve

Person trimming tree
Photo credit: Chris Parkes
Person cutting grasses
Photo credit: Chris Parkes
People building fence
Photo credit: Chris Parkes

Our volunteer days could include scrub clearance and control such as bracken bruising and bramble clearance, tree planting, biodiversity surveys, coppicing, carpentry, path maintenance and clearance, flood management, the maintenance, cleaning and repair of reserve access, habitat creation such as wildflower meadow creation or maintenance, flood management and proofing including building leaky woody dam structures, invasive species control, dead hedging, supporting events.

WarningIt is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks depend on the volunteer, the time of the year, the site and the work that needs to be done. The final volunteer experience can therefore vary.

We email you with details of activities planned once a month, but sometimes things change so be prepared for any task!


People crossing stream
Photo credit: Chris Parkes
People moving wheelbarrow
Photo credit: Chris Parkes
People tree thinning
Photo credit: Chris Parkes

While we try to accommodate all abilities and offer alternative activities, volunteering is often physical doing hands-on conservation which may not be suitable for everyone. You need to be comfortable using a variety of tools and tasks may involve lifting materials. Activities may also involve a longer walk into the meadows and woodlands (often uphill or on uneven/steep terrain), crossing streams and getting muddy!

Volunteer requirements

No formal qualifications are needed but to enjoy the role you’ll need to:

  • be aged 18 or over with a friendly disposition
  • be reliable, dependable, honest and trustworthy
  • have your own transport to and from sites
  • happy to work outside in all weathers
  • happy to work with other volunteers of all abilities, backgrounds and ages
  • ready to try new activities and have a go at hands on practical conservation
  • come prepared to work outdoors

What’s included

Light refreshments will be offered by the team on volunteer days, but please bring your own packed lunch and water. Transport costs can be reclaimed.


There are limited readily available facilities on reserves, we do however have a portable loo available. Rangers will ensure your privacy should you require this.

Highlights of volunteering with us

Join a fun and enthusiastic team and learn new skills from experienced National Trust Urban Rangers. You will get the chance to learn land management practices and get hands-on practical conservation experience in the field. Experience the physical and mental health benefits of working outdoors. Volunteers will also be part of enhancing the city's greenspaces for people and wildlife to thrive in healthy ecosystems, making a difference in your city.

Your commitment

This is a flexible volunteer placement and you are able to commit to as many or as little of the volunteer sessions as your lifestyle allows. However please be aware that in accepting this volunteer placement, you are making a firm commitment to uphold the Nature Plymouth Volunteer policy.

Training and support

You will receive an event brief and safety talk at the beginning of each session from an experienced National Trust Ranger. This will cover tool safety and any training that is required for the activity on the day.

Further information

Email if you have any questions.

There are other ways to get involved with conserving greenspaces across Plymouth. Visit our parks and greenspaces pages for more info.

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