Bench Installation at Great Gaddesden

15 volunteers from our North Chilterns Path Maintenance Group took on the challenge of installing three benches at remote scenic sights on important footpaths in the Great Gaddesden Parish. No ordinary garden seats, these were solid oak benches with supporting posts that needed to be set two feet into the ground.

Our volunteers divided into teams, so that each team had a balance of skills and physical abilities to deliver the challenge. The logistics were interesting, requiring benches, appropriate tools, and the right mix of people to operate at sites that were a few miles apart.

The ground was well baked after a six week drought. The teams rose magnificently to the task, and three benches were installed for the benefit of ramblers for many decades to come. Indeed, as soon as the Heizdin’s Wood bench was installed, two weary and mature walkers appeared and took advantage of this brand new “breather” opportunity.

A well deserved trip to a local pub followed, and efforts were rewarded with a hearty lunch!


Find out more
Learning to scythe at Kingwood Common

The Kingwood Common Volunteers enjoyed a days scythe training this week with local scyther Clive Leeke. The team spent the day learning how to use and maintain these low-impact tools with the aim of using them to help restore and maintain the important open grassland and heath habitats on Kingwood Common. Reducing the dominance of bracken and bramble is a key task for our volunteers, and the scythes offer an efficient and rewarding method of carrying this out throughout the year.

Bracken is very invasive and quickly dominates the open glades if it isn’t controlled. Regular cutting reduces the bracken’s vigour and dominance allowing space for a diversity of wildflowers and grasses to develop.

This is part of a wider partnership project at Kingwood Common supported by the Nettlebed Estate and TOE2 with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd.


Find out more
Volunteers get to work at Lindengate

Last week a group of our volunteers spent the morning at Lidengate, helping to enhance the habitats in their wildlife area focussing on the boundary hedge. Volunteers worked hard to clear bramble and cut back the sides to help thicken the hedge up making it more attractive for a range of species from nesting birds to small mammals that rely on the hedge for cover from predators.

Lindengate is mental health charity based in Wendover that offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs. The charity believes that the healing power of nature and the outdoors can do a great deal to improve mental wellbeing, boost self-esteem & social inclusion and encourage long-term recovery. We’re proud to be collaborating with such a worthwhile local organisation and look forward to returning there again later this week for our next volunteer session.

Find out more
Kingwood Common Group Get To Work!

On 1st November, our brand new Kingwood Common Conservation Group officially launched with it’s first volunteering session.

Twenty-five volunteers rolled up their sleeves to clear bracken, bramble and self-seeded saplings from the open glades to help restore this important heathland and acid grassland habitat near Nettlebed.

Kingwood Common, a County Wildlife Site, is characteristic of a neglected heath consisting largely of oak, birch and bracken. However, pockets of lowland heath and dry acid grassland areas still survive. These habitats support a range of species, including heath bedstraw, heath milkwort, heather/ling and bell heather, that are not found in other habitats.  These species are are nationally rare, particularly so in Oxfordshire.

Our volunteers have been working in partnership with the Nettlebed Estate for many years carrying out access improvements across the Nettlebed Commons. An opportunity arose to work again with the Nettlebed Estate to support the Nettlebed and District Commons Conservators in delivering the Kingwood Common Conservation Management Plan, so, after months of preparations, we are delighted that this new conservation group is now finally established.

Kingwood Common is an important site for biodiversity and heritage and is a wonderful natural asset for the local community. We are thrilled to play an important role in caring for it.

The Group’s next session is being held on Saturday 18th November from 10am to 1pm. All are welcome to attend and lend a hand. For more information and to register your interest, please send an email to Matthew Davis, our Kingwood Common Group Leader.

This project is supported by TOE2 with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd.


Find out more
Congratulations to our North Chilterns Path Maintenance Volunteers

A HUGE well done to our NCMPV group who achieved Highly Commended in the Dacorum Borough Council Community Champion Awards, which recognises individuals and groups who go out of their way to make Dacorum a cleaner, safer and greener place to live.

Les Mosco, the group leader, along with seven of our regular volunteers were presented the award by Mayor of Dacorum Cllr David Collins at a presentation ceremony earlier this month.

For more information about the work of path maintenance groups and how you could get involved, please click here.

Find out more
Kingwood Common – Get Involved!

Get hands on and help to protect your local landscape by volunteering with our brand new Kingwood Common Conservation Group. All are welcome to join us at the group’s official launch on Wednesday 1st November. This is the first work party for the new group, which will subsequently run twice a month.

We’ll be undertaking a range of conservation work to protect the biodiversity of this unique common in partnership with the Nettlebed and District Commons Conservators.

No special skills are needed, just come with your boots, old clothes and some work gloves if you have them.

Hand tools and briefings will be provided, along with light refreshments at break time.

You’ll need to be aged 18 or over, reasonably fit, and have plenty of enthusiasm.

Give Volunteering a try – it’s great for your wellbeing and a fabulous way to get active, learn more about the environment, enjoy what we have so close to us, and have fun with like-minded people.


1st November
9:45am – 1:00pm
Meeting and parking at Cherry Croft, RG9 5NA

For more information and to register your interest in attending, please send an email to Matthew Davis, our Kingwood Common Group Leader.

This project is supported by TOE2 with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd.

Find out more
Planning Campaign Leader

Are you passionate about protecting the Chilterns as a unique and special place to live ? Do you have the drive and commitment to lead a successful campaign, building support from our community and other organisations to influence local and national government ?

Our Planning Group urgently needs a Campaign Leader to step up our campaign to prevent unsustainable development into the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty and Green Belt.  You’ll be used to working in a volunteering role, and how to work with other volunteers to achieve results.

We’re looking for someone, maybe from a marketing background, with skills and experience in leadership, communication and management of diverse stakeholders to influence senior levels of local and national government.  There is no need for detailed knowledge of planning regulations, as you will have support from experts in our Planning Group.  However you do need an understanding of how government operates and how to collaborate with other organisations in the area such as the Chilterns Conservation Board, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Natural England, District and County Councils.

The role needs to drive out tangible results from our already publicised Planning Manifesto.  This safeguards the AONB, protects the Green Belt, overhauls the methods for calculating housing need, scales infrastructure, favours brownfield and infill usage, and promotes good building design.  The first goal is to build a coalition of MPs across the Chilterns to support our Manifesto and change housing calculations.  The Chiltern Society supports the needs of local businesses and affordable housing for local people, rather than  unfettered free market priority for multi-million pound commuterland.

To discuss more about how you could fit this role please contact:

Merrin Molesworth: : tel: 01494 773381

Michael Jepson: tel: 01494 837602

Find out more
Volunteers Week 2017

We depend on YOU to help us care for the Chilterns! 

Across the country, charities are celebrating Volunteers’ Week, so now is the time for us to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our volunteers, group leaders and supporters!

Volunteers really do make a HUGE difference to the work we are able to carry out. Without our volunteers, we simply would not be able to care for the Chilterns. Our volunteers clock up over 60,000 hours work every year- all in the name of protecting our local countryside for people to enjoy now and in the future.

We do, however, have lots of volunteer vacancies that we urgently need to fill, many of which are suitable for anyone looking to lend a hand, and others that are more specialist. From conservation work and path maintenance, to monitoring planning applications, assisting our Heritage Group or keeping an eye on our important network of path ways, there really is an opportunity for everyone to get involved! If you have a more specialist skill that you’d like to offer, whether in marketing, IT or database management, we’d love to hear from you so please do contact us.

Volunteering with us isn’t just good for the Chilterns, but it’s also good for your wellbeing with proven benefits to physical and mental health!

Find out more about volunteering with us here.

Find out more
Central Chilterns Volunteer Conservation Group – New Leader Wanted

Our Central Chilterns volunteer conservation group has been running for more than 20 years. During that time it has made a huge contribution to the preservation of ponds and other small conservation sites.

We are looking for a new leader to help the group continue it’s brilliant work. The role would consist of leading a group of up to 15 dedicated volunteers, keeping in touch with local parish councils, organising the group’s volunteer schedule and, of course, working hard to maintain the quality of so many commons, village ponds and conservation sites. The Chiltern Society is dedicated to caring for the Chilterns and this volunteer group plays a vital role in helping us to do that!

This is a weekend conservation group which meets approximately once per month. The work parties take place from 10am – 1pm on a Saturday.

This is a voluntary role from which you will derive huge satisfaction. Ponds, in particular, are a fantastic habitat for so many aquatic plants and support two-thirds of all freshwater species including frogs, newts, toads, beetles and dragonfly larvae. They have a huge impact on many of the environmental issues affecting us today.

All Chiltern Society group leaders are given support and encouragement from a terrific team of trustees and office staff. It’s a role ideally suited to someone who thrives on teamwork!

Interested? For more information please call our Head of Conservation, Gavin Johnson, on 01494 771250 or send him an email.


Find out more
Volunteer co-ordinator wanted

The Chiltern Society is looking for a new volunteer co-ordinator to act as a focal point for all volunteering enquiries. This is a great opportunity to become involved with all aspects of the Society’s activities as well as working closely with a great team of volunteer groups and office colleagues. It’s a voluntary role taking up just a few hours each week and can be done in your own time.

The role includes making contact with new volunteers, discussing what opportunities are available, and making introductions to the relevant group leaders. We also actively seek volunteers for particular tasks, and from time to time the volunteer co-ordinator will prepare some paperwork for publication in ‘Chiltern’ magazine and our enewsletters.

The role is home-based and all you need are basic computer skills. There are occasional short committee meetings. You’ll gain tremendous satisfaction from getting to know lots of people all of who have a strong desire to help maintain the Chilterns as a fabulous place to live, work and visit. You’ll also appreciate the huge amount of effort that they put in as volunteers on behalf of the Society.

Interested? Please contact Geoff Wiggett if you’d like to find out more.

Find out more