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Countryside volunteering

As a countryside volunteer you can get involved with all manner of countryside management work, ranging from wildlife conservation to visitor care. It's a great way to meet new people, learn new skills and keep fit. And it's fun too!

Countryside service volunteers building a stile

People volunteer for different reasons. Some want to improve their career prospects, whilst others want something fulfilling to do after retirement. Many just want to give something back to society. Whatever the reasons, we really appreciate the hard work and dedication of all our volunteers.

We have a range of volunteering roles. Opportunities vary depending on the nature and operation of the site, and the places available.

Opportunities range from conservation and estate management work through to visitor services and education. You can also get involved in surveying and maintaining our Greenways and Public Rights of Way network.

Our volunteer agreement and guide to volunteering with our countryside service give more information on procedures for volunteers and will help you decide if volunteering with us is right for you.

Interested? Check out the roles advertised on this page. Or download the volunteer enquiry form, complete it, return it to us, and we'll let you know what's available.

High Peak Junction railway workshops volunteer

High Peak Junction was a transport hub on the Cromford Canal from around 1830. It has some of the world's oldest railway workshops, and a haven of heritage and wildlife.

High Peak Junction railway workshops are a scheduled ancient monument, which we own. The building is maintained by our countryside service.

When the railway workshop is open to the public you may be their first point of contact, welcoming people to the museum, explaining its history, and place within the social history of the area.

What we're looking for

  • we want to ensure that all visitors feel welcome and have the relevant information to enjoy their visit
  • share interesting facts and stories about the location and its history
  • encourage visitors to give donations
  • ensure visitors respect the railway workshops and behave with responsibility to themselves and others
  • help to ensure visitors understand the importance of the railway workshop and associated venues including Leawood Pump, Aqueduct Cottage, Lea Wood nature reserve, and help to increase visitor numbers
  • able to communicate effectively to a wide range of people and have a friendly and approachable manner
  • be reliable and punctual
  • trustworthy
  • have a good knowledge of local history or be prepared to acquire and communicate this 

Why we want you

This role is vital as it increases our ability to engage with the public, promoting the site and surrounding area, and to continue to receive the donations needed to maintain the building.

What you'll be doing

  • when the railway workshops are open, you'll be engaging with the public and welcoming them to the museum and explaining its role on the Cromford and High Peak Railway
  • develop knowledge about the industrial and social history of the area and communicate this to members of the public
  • develop knowledge of the other venues in the area and communicating this to the public

What we're looking for

You'll need to be:

  • enthusiastic and confident
  • able to work with a team
  • warm and friendly and enjoy talking to people of all ages and backgrounds
  • demonstrate an interest in the social and industrial history of the Derwent Valley, and of the Derwent Valley landscape

More details

Training will be available.

To find out more, contact Middleton Top tel: 01629 533298.

Our countryside volunteers

Robin Freeman had been a visitor at Shipley Country Park for 30 years before he decided to give something back and become a volunteer.

He's been helping out at the park for 2 years now.

"We get involved in all sorts of things - fencing, hedge laying, planting, path repairs. It's very different from the engineering job I used to do but it's great to be able to get outside and learn new skills. They're a great bunch of people, we work hard but we also have a lot of fun."

Phil Rhodes volunteers at Pleasley Pit Country Park with their nature study group. He says:

"I went for a walk around the site and got talking to some of the volunteers and decided to get involved myself. I work on monitoring small animals like mice, shrews and voles and weigh, measure and log them. I have a busy day job so it's a release for me - I really look forward to my Saturday mornings outdoors."

Working with community groups

We also work with volunteer groups such as 'friends' groups, Ramblers and parish path groups to maintain and improve our countryside sites and Public Rights of Way. Get in touch if your group wants to get involved, or if you want to start a new group.

Elvaston Castle Secret Garden

Elvaston's Secret Garden project involves volunteers in growing fruit and vegetables and includes a heritage allotment. It also provides opportunities for adults with learning disabilities and currently supports 2 groups.

Local access forums

Derbyshire's local access forums have an advisory role in strategic access and recreation issues. They are made up of volunteers representing landowners, forestry and farming, countryside users, and local communities.

There are vacancies on the Derby and Derbyshire Local Access Forum for anyone who is interested in helping to improve and promote the fantastic outdoor recreation opportunities which the area has to offer.

Contact us


Tel: 01629 533302

Write to:
Countryside Service
Derbyshire County Council
Shand House
Dale Road South