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South London - volunteer opportunities with London Wildlife Trust

Volunteers at Sydenham Hill Wood Local Nature Reserve

Practical land management on South London nature reserves

The South Reserves Team are responsible for the management of many varied nature reserves across a wide geographical area of south London. The primary reserves that we manage are chalk grassland habitats at Hutchinson's Bank, Chapel Bank, Salt Box Hill, Riddlesdown and West Kent Golf Course, each with its own unique character and diverse species.

Here we continue to carry out grassland and scrub management as part of ongoing restoration work, also keeping footpaths and gates clear of vegetation, rebuilding steps, repairing fences and gates, as well as mowing and tree management work.

Conservation grazing takes place periodically, utilising sheep, goats and Dartmoor ponies, following on from scrub clearance and other restoration work.

If your enquiry is about getting involved as part of a company group, please visit our Wild Workdays page.

At nearby Bramley Bank we work to keep footpaths free of overgrowing vegetation, manage a small area of acid grassland/heathland and follow up restoration work on a woodland pond.

We are also well under way with habitat improvements at Braeburn Park (Crayford), a former gravel workings in Bexley, where we’ve cleared areas of dense scrub, opened up old sand cliffs (home to many varied insect species), coppiced trees in a wet woodland area, constructed new steps and are reprofiling footpaths as part of ongoing access improvements.

Learn about wildlife habitats and develop new skills.

We are always looking for new volunteers to help us manage these special nature reserves on the fringes on south London, undertaking a wide range of practical conservation activities throughout the year.

Full guidance will be given for the different tasks; you’ll learn about habitat management and other aspects of reserves work, develop new skills as well as contributing your own skills to the team.

What you need: No previous experience is necessary; all you need is enthusiasm, an interest in nature conservation and the ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds. Suitable clothing and sturdy footwear are required and please bring a packed lunch for yourself (lunch expenses are reimbursed up to £4.00 per workday, with receipt of purchase), along with some travel costs (eg Oyster card, with proof of journey).

Travel: Most locations are easily accessible by public transport, including the Croydon Tramlink and local buses.

We can sometimes offer a lift in the Wildlife Trust vehicle which leaves from the Centre for Wildlife Gardening, close to East Dulwich or Peckham Rye railway stations but this is by prior arrangement as spaces are limited. We provide all tools, personal protective equipment and guidance, as well as hot drinks and biscuits during the workday.

Task days for south Reserves are on Tuesdays and Fridays, as well as certain Sundays each month. A work programme is emailed to volunteers, usually monthly, giving details of what’s planned and where.

For Braeburn, task days are generally on a Wednesday and Thursday each week.

For more details please contact: Shaun Marriott, Reserves Officer on 0771 019 4268 or

Work locations may change at short notice due to unforeseen circumstances so please don’t just turn up without checking first.

Potted History - Gardening and reminiscence

Are you patient, interested in people's stories and like working with people in a natural setting?

Our Gardening and reminiscence project for older people promotes mental and physical wellbeing through food-growing, arts, crafts and the making of natural remedies, together with laughter, tea and biscuits. We hold weekly groups at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening, SE15 and at day centres and residential care homes across south London.

We are looking for volunteers to help support and engage with the groups and bring ideas and lots of energy.

No gardening experience is required - just bring enthusiasm for nature and a patient approach. Training will be provided.

Where: Centre for Wildlife Gardening, Peckham 
Special requirements: A friendly and patient manner and the ability to team work with people from diverse backgrounds.
Contact: Joanna Ecclestone at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening - 020 7252 9186 or


Weekly conservation volunteering sessions at Bellenden Road Nature Garden in Peckham

Join us at Bellenden Road Nature Garden for free fresh air and exercise and the chance to learn new skills / Help improve your local nature garden / Create a wildlife pond / Lay a hedge and plant wildflowers

Every Thursday from 21st January to 24th March 2016. 10:30am - 2:00pm. No experience necessary.

For more information contact Sylvia Myers / 020 7525 9186


Volunteer education and events assistants

We need volunteers to assist with the delivery of formal and informal onsite and outreach environmental education sessions and community events, mainly aimed at primary schools.

The role will provide excellent work experience for anyone wanting a career in the environmental education sector.

Volunteers will learn how to prepare and deliver environmental education programmes with a view to eventually leading sessions themselves, and receive hands on training in how to run successful outdoor events and activities.

Special Requirements: A desire to work with children, basic wildlife knowledge and an enthusiasm for nature. Applicants will be CRB checked. Volunteers will be asked to provide a brief CV and have an informal conversation with the project officer before volunteering with any events or school groups.

Where: Centre for Wildlife Gardening, and other sites in Southwark.

When: Flexible – formal school sessions take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays over the spring, summer and autumn during term time, with occasional other days (including some evenings and weekends) for outreach projects and events all year round.

Contact: Sylvia Myers - 020 7252 9186 or


Practical volunteering at the Centre for Wildlife Gardening

The Centre for Wildlife Gardening is an idyllic Green Flag award winning site in East Dulwich.

It has a series of pocket habitats (such as a chalk slope, pond and stag beetle loggeries) and demonstration wildlife friendly planting.

We are looking for volunteers to take part in practical gardening activities such as general garden maintenance, potting up and planting out of plants, pond maintenance, clearance of invasive plants and the creation and maintenance of our wildlife habitats.

Volunteers will gain practical skills in gardening, plant and wildlife identification and habitat management. Wednesday sessions will be led by experienced practical conservationists. Volunteers on Sundays will need to be able to work independently but staff will always be on site to give advice and set tasks.

What skills and experience do I need? As much or as little as you can bring but training is provided. However, enthusiasm, common sense and the ability to team work with people from diverse backgrounds is essential.

Where: Centre for Wildlife Gardening

When: Wednesdays and Sundays 10.30am - 4.30pm.Please let us know before attending your first session. We will show you around, talk you through health and safety, take your details (including an emergency contact and medical issues we need to be aware of) and get you gardening! Please wear suitable clothing and sturdy footwear. Refreshments & protective clothing (e.g. gloves) will be provided.

Contact: Sylvia Myers - 020 7252 9186 or    


Sydenham Hill Wood

We run regular volunteer workdays both during the week and at weekends carrying out practical habitat management of Sydenham Hill Wood and Cox's walk. We also undertake surveys of bats, butterflies, the ponds and hold numerous public events throughout the year. Check out a video showing some of our work at Sydenham Hill Wood below.

Please note that prospective volunteers are required to provide a CV, inform the Project Officer of any relevant medical conditions, complete a compulsory volunteer registration form and to have a brief, informal conversation with the Project Officer before they can volunteer.

We do not allow volunteers to attend workdays at Sydenham Hill Wood without a suitable induction. Experience is not essential, over-16s are welcome, under-16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

Contact Daniel Greenwood: call 0207 252 9186





Kestrels by Philip Braude. Can you make a donation today to help secure the future of our reserves?

Image of kestrels by Philip Braude