Volunteering in the New Forest

This is a community website which is provided and maintained by the New Forest Volunteer Ranger team. Our team of Volunteer Rangers work with and are sponsored by the Forestry Commission, with whom they play an integral role in helping to conserve wildlife habitats and by enhancing visitor enjoyment of the New Forest. Our volunteers come from all age groups and walks of life. Some have free time to commit to helping during the week while others volunteer at weekends or a combination of both. Our Volunteer Rangers all have two things in common though – a love of the New Forest and the enthusiasm to help in its management.

Our volunteers are passionate about the New Forest and enjoy spending time outdoors conserving this unique and very special piece of England that we are so lucky to have on our doorstep. Volunteer Rangers carry out a host of tasks so diverse that there are many opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge. In spring and summer, Volunteer Rangers can be found attending public events, patrolling the forest to make sure that the public enjoy their visit, leading guided walks and manning both the information unit at Bolderwood and the New Forest Reptile Centre.

5 Dec 2012 (4)In autumn and winter our members work closely with other New Forest volunteers from our sister organisation, the Two Trees Conservation Team - please visit our Forest Conservation page for further information. Together we carry out a full programme of conservation tasks such as clearing the edges of woodland tracks to improve butterfly habitats and removal of seedling pine regeneration from heathland, to provide a good habitat for birds such as the rare Dartford Warbler.

Throughout the year there are also some great seasonal opportunities for our Volunteer Ranger team like sellng Christmas trees and helping the New Forest Agisters with the pony round-ups plus other “one off” events.

Our duties take place mainly on Crown land which and is managed by the Forestry Commission and lies in the heart of the New Forest National Park. The Crown land encompasses just under 50% of the national park’s total area and receives approximately 18 million day visits a year. This area of woodland, lowland heath and valley mires is unique across Europe with its area of lowland heath rarer globally than rain forest. Covering 145 square miles, the Crown land is a place of ancient history, fascinating wildlife and stunning beauty. Originally a royal hunting preserve for the English monarchs, this thriving working forest that you see today has survived for nearly 1000 years. It is a totally unique area of the UK and our largest remaining heritage forest.

For a fuller picture of our role in the New Forest please view our video:-

Volunteer Rangers are recruited by the Forestry Commission periodically.   Please keep an eye out on the Forestry Commission website http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest and click on Volunteering in the New Forest.

However, you may wish to consider coming along to some Two Trees Conservation Team events which are led by Volunteer Rangers – just visit the team website where you can join and sign up for events online. By doing this you will meet some of our Rangers and learn more about the role whilst helping with the conservation of the New Forest at the same time. Many of our current Volunteer Rangers have been recruited from the Two Trees team.

There is also a wide range of other volunteering opportunities which take place in the New Forest throughout the year, full details of which can be found on the New Forest National Park website