Volunteering with Natural England: how to get involved

Find out how to become a volunteer to support nature conservation where you live and work.

Natural England’s volunteers come from many different backgrounds and are involved in a wide variety of tasks - from scientific surveying to enthusing visitors on our National Nature Reserves (NNRs). There is no minimum time commitment - you choose how much you do.

Find volunteering opportunities near you

In the interests of sustainability and fairness, Natural England doesn’t encourage volunteers to travel long distances to their place of volunteering.

When Natural England has specific volunteering opportunities, they will be advertised here. Bear in mind there is high demand for the limited number of places. Enquiries are welcome.

Advertised volunteer roles

4 Conservation Assistants (volunteer) based at East Dartmoor National Nature Reserve, Devon.

These 1 year posts are suitable for recent graduates who want a career in nature conservation.

Closing date: 9am, Monday 22 January 2018.

For more information and how to apply see the candidate information pack (PDF, 260KB, 5 pages)

Student placements and work experience

No current vacancies

Base your Masters, undergraduate, diploma, BTEC or A-level dissertation project on one of our NNRs.

For PhD enquiries, see PhD projects with Natural England funding.

Voluntary bat roost visitor

Natural England has a network of trained and licensed voluntary bat roost visitors who help provide advice about bats in homes, places of worship and, in some cases, public buildings. For details of how to train locally, register with Natural England, get licensed and other information about this role see voluntary bat roost visitors.

Corporate or employer supported volunteering and team building days

Natural England can offer a range of team building volunteering opportunities in conservation work and community engagement activities depending on where your business is located.

Email for more information.

How to register to become a volunteer

If you want to train become a voluntary bat roost visitor, you’ll need to complete the VBRV expression of interest form and email it to

For all other roles, if there’s an opportunity near you, then complete the expression of interest form to register. Send your completed form to: Natural England will use this to find any suitable opportunities for you, so include as much information as possible.

For overseas volunteers/students: You must check with UK Visas and Immigration to ensure that you are eligible to volunteer in the UK. Natural England is not registered as an official sponsor for overseas volunteers or students. Natural England cannot cover travel expenses to the UK or accommodation expenses whilst in the UK.

How we treat personal details

If Natural England cannot offer you a placement, either because of your location or because there aren’t any current opportunities which match your skills or interests, your contact details and interests will be added to a register of potential volunteers.

This list will be regularly shared with staff across Natural England who may contact you should a role become available. Your details will be kept for up to 6 months unless you ask us to remove them. Natural England will not pass your personal information outside of the organisation or use your details for anything other than contacting you about possible volunteering opportunities.

Volunteer benefits and entitlements

Benefits to be gained from volunteering with Natural England include:

  • giving valuable support to the conservation of special habitats and species
  • using your existing skills and learning new ones
  • keeping active
  • working as part of a team with staff and other volunteers
  • adding valuable work experience to your CV

You will receive:

  • information on your voluntary role and how it contributes to Natural England’s work
  • an induction to your role
  • information on health, safety and welfare
  • an identity card for use during your voluntary role
  • protective clothing or equipment required for your role (on loan)
  • newsletters, leaflets, publications or handbooks that may be of interest
  • a reference if you want to use your voluntary experience with us when applying for a job or another voluntary role
  • agreed out-of-pocket expenses

Contact us

For further information about:

Published 10 October 2014
Last updated 11 December 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added advert for 4 Conservation Assistants (Volunteer) roles based at East Dartmoor NNR.
  2. East Dartmoor NNR: closed recruitment removed and new vacancy details added.
  3. Recruitment for volunteer conservation assistant has been extended.
  4. Details of vacancy for a conservation assistant (volunteer) at East Dartmoor NNR added.
  5. Advert added for conservation assistant (volunteer) vacancy at East Dartmoor NNR
  6. Advert for conservation volunteers removed as recruitment now closed.
  7. Closing date for advertised Conservation Assistant (volunteer) roles extended to 22 February 2016
  8. Advert added for 4 conservation assistant volunteer roles
  9. Advert for survey and monitoring placements removed as these are paid roles.
  10. Information added about recruitment for 3 month survey and monitoring training placements
  11. Advert for environmental conservation apprentice removed as recruitment now closed.
  12. Advert for 18 month diploma placements removed as recruitment has closed
  13. Information about the recruitment for an environmental conservation apprentice at Humberhead Peatlands NNR added.
  14. Recruitment opened for 8 trainee placements based on Natural England managed NNRs
  15. Advert for 3 month taster training placements (8 posts) removed: recruitment closed
  16. Updated Contact us section.
  17. 8 x 3 month training placement advert added
  18. Advert for butterfly surveyor at Lullington Heath removed as recruitment has closed
  19. EcoSkills advert removed as recruitment has closed. Advert for volunteer butterfly surveyor on Lullington Heath added
  20. Removal of 'Nurturing nature conservation skills' recruitment which has closed
  21. Information about recruitment for survey and monitoring training placements added Information about EcoSkills vacancy added
  22. Information about a volunteer training programme added
  23. First published.