Dynamic Dunescapes Immersive Volunteer

National Trust

Woolacombe, Devon

Volunteer • Full Time


Sectors: conservation & wildlife, environmental education

Closing date: Friday, 29th July 2022  

Background to the National Trust & Dynamic Dunescapes

The National Trust is a registered charity founded in 1895 to preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the nation to enjoy. National Trust protects hundreds of historic houses and gardens and 49 industrial monuments and mills. The National Trust owns more than 248,000 hectares (612,000 acres) of the most beautiful countryside (and almost 600 miles of coast) including forests, woods, fens, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, nature reserves and villages.

As a charity we have benefited from the support and good will of volunteers to help us achieve our goals of looking after special places for everyone, for ever. Over 45,000 people help us in many different ways enjoying being at our places, learning new skills, sharing their knowledge and making a difference.

Dynamic Dunescapes is a National Lottery Heritage funded nationwide sand dune restoration project that The National Trust, PlantLife and Christie’s Estates are supporting in North Devon. Dynamic Dunescapes is an ambitious project, rejuvenating some of England & Wales' most important sand dunes for people, communities and wildlife.

About the property

This largely Atlantic coastal property, with its spectacular and dramatic cliff scenery of rocky headlands, sandy bays and dunes, is one of the most visited in Britain, and its unspoilt landscapes are close to the hearts of generations of holidaymakers and local people alike. The landscape has been designated as part of the North Devon Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. And contains exceptional examples of coastal heath and maritime grassland SSI.

The extensive areas of exposed, open coast, both agricultural land and gorse dominated rocky heath, in Trust ownership, amount to almost the entire undeveloped coastal land between Ilfracombe and Croyde, with extensive areas in and around Mortehoe and Woolacombe. As such the property contains nearly all the unspoilt coast in the area.

This role will also involve working at Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO biosphere reserve and part of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is the second largest dune system in the UK, and home to a number of rare species, making it ecologically highly important.

Our success as a property is due to the enthusiasm and skills of our team of staff and volunteers. Volunteers help us in a wide number of roles across the portfolio, giving their time and talents to help is conserve and share the places in our care. We have a full programme of team activities and skills sharing to help us understand the work we do and develop our skills.

Role Summary

Volunteering in this role will give experience and develop skills in nature conservation and engaging with the public, helping to build enthusiasm and understanding of our conservation work at Woolacombe. You’ll learn how we plan and deliver nature conservation and access, work with partners and develop events for families and schools.

You will be supporting the Dynamic Dunescapes project, volunteering with the Engagement Officer to help deliver of a wide range of engagement activities throughout the year, from assisting with rockpool rambles, to art workshops, as well as beach & sand dune games. You will also assist with the delivery of curriculum-based learning sessions to local schools, both in the classroom and on site.

This role may also involve making social media posts, and writing blogs for Dynamic Dunescapes project.

As part of the Woolacombe team, you will be volunteering alongside our skilled Rangers, undertaking a wide range of practical countryside management, including landscape & nature conservation tasks and wildlife monitoring.

You will also have the opportunity to assist with the co-ordination of local volunteers and visitors helping to deliver inspirational experiences. Our current emphasis is on rejuvenating natural environments and reversing the alarming decline in wildlife as per our ‘Land, Outdoors and Nature’ vision and this will be reflected in the volunteering you do. We’d hope you could give a maximum of 30 hours a week over the week and can adapt to paid work shifts that you could be doing outside of your volunteering.

Role programme

As part of our ‘Land, Outdoor and Nature’ vision you will have the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience in a diverse range of activities, that could include:

  • Assisting the Dynamic Dunescapes Engagement officer in the development and delivery of engagement events to the public and to school groups, as well as rockpool rambles.
  • Support the ranger team with practical countryside management and estate maintenance skills, with the opportunity to learn skills around fencing, walling, footpath creation and maintenance, habitat management, Invasive species control, maintaining and building estate furniture as well as other tasks that could emerge.
  • Assisting our tenants to help deliver great land management, undertaking tasks such as livestock checks and handling. Volunteering with the ranger team to learn about how we manage tenant relationships.
  • Assisting with wildlife monitoring across the property to learn about how we quantify the success of our land management strategy.
  • Learning about the organization and delivery of visitor experiences across the property.
  • Gaining experience in the facilitation of and learning about the management of Volunteer groups who help us on a regular basis around the property
  • Learning about the maintenance of National Trust assets including vehicles, machinery, equipment and workshops to ensure they are in a safe and usable condition.
  • Being an ambassador for the National Trust by volunteering with the Rangers to maintain effective communication with the visiting public, local communities and tenants to ensure the National Trust’s actions are understood and its local reputation is maintained and enhanced.
  • Support the North Devon Dynamic Dunescapes social media presence, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • Update and add content to the central Dynamic Dunescapes website
  • Research and develop new resources for the project as agreed

Interests and skills

  • Passion for the outdoors
  • Enthusiasm for UK wildlife/land management/farming
  • Self-motivated and able to take the initiative
  • Able to work well as part of a team
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Full, Clean UK driving license (to drive estate vehicles)
  • Basic IT Skills
  • An interest in gaining wildlife identification skills
  • Enthusiasm for environmental education activities
  • Flexibility, confidence and comfort with living with others, if accommodation is taken up (see below)

Other information and practicalities

  • We will provide work clothing, personal protective equipment and relevant in-house and external training to ensure you are safe and confident in your role at all times, and to further develop skills.
  • All volunteers are covered by National Trust insurance.
  • Due to the property’s remote location, if needed there could be a separate agreement of using free shared accommodation, with all bills included. Please let us know if you’d be interested in this when you apply and we can share more details.
  • Volunteers often manage to find some local work to cover additional expenses, such as food costs and we can support you to look for extra work if helpful.
  • We will cover agreed out of pocket expenses (where agreed in advance).
  • Expenses on the days you volunteer are available in line with the National Trust volunteer expenses policy, eg. lunch & travel cost

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to [email protected]

To find out more, contact Fraser at [email protected] or 01271 870555