Volunteering in the countryside

Find out how to get involved in volunteering, what 'friends' groups are, what phoenix is, what local paths partnership is and what the local access forum is.

How can I get involved in volunteering?

There are some opportunities to work with the East Riding of Yorkshire Council and other partners to improve our nature reserves, country parks, open spaces and footpaths.

The countryside access team does not have a countryside volunteer service, nor a full time volunteer coordinator so opportunities are limited.

Living close to one of the local nature reserves is a distinct advantage, although if you do not we may be able to put you in touch with an alternative group such as The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) or Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Further information about volunteering for these groups is available on their websites.

The Conservation Volunteers (external website)

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - volunteering (external website)

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - volunteering  (external website)

By volunteering you can:

  • learn new practical skills (training is provided)
  • get involved with decision making about a site near you
  • learn about nature and wildlife and meet people with similar interests.

Anyone over the age of 18 can become a volunteer, whether you are a student looking to gain some experience, retired with time to spare or a local resident wanting to get involved with the conservation of your local area. No previous experience or skills are necessary. Everyone is welcome!

Walkers can volunteer to help our local paths partnership parishes who are often looking for surveyors and coordinators to help improve local path networks. The ramblers of East Riding also help improve rights of way be erecting signs and gates, and clearing overgrowth.

If you are aged under 18 you can join the East Riding Phoenix Group. Volunteers get free admission on events and we also try to help with transport.

Please get in touch using the contact us page.

What are 'friends' groups and how do I join?

There are a number of 'friends' groups that help the council look after individual local nature reserves. 

The friends of the Humber Bridge country park hold regular weekend conservation tasks at the park and meet once a month at Hessle High School to discuss issues relating to the site. The following website gives further information about what the group is responsible for. 

Friends of Humber Bridge country park (external website)

The friends of Oakhill group hold regular weekend conservation events at Oakhill local nature reserve, on the edge of Goole and meet once a month at the Goole Leisure Centre to discuss issues relating to the site. Further information about what this group is responsible for can be found on the Oakhill website.

Oakhill nature (external website)

Sigglesthorne station and Southorpe local nature reserves, on the disused railway line from Hull to Hornsea, are looked after by the Hornsea and North Holderness countryside society in partnership with the countryside access team.

What is Phoenix, and how do I get involved?

Phoenix is an environmental and wildlife group for young people aged 12 to 19 years. You are invited to join the group if you want to do something positive to help wildlife and have fun at the same time. You can also come along to Phoenix as part of your Duke of Edinburgh Award.  

The friends of Humber Bridge country park website provides further information about the phoenix group and how to get involved:

Friends of Humber Bridge Country Park (external website)

What is the local paths partnership scheme?

East Riding of Yorkshire Council works in partnership with local parishes to improve, maintain and promote the public rights of way network.The local parish partnership scheme allocates grants to parish and town councils to help them look after their local paths. Local people are given the resources and skills necessary to improve the condition of their rights of way and to keep them open and in use. One hundred percent grants are paid to parishes who join the scheme, and at all times they have the support of a countryside access officer from the rights of way team.

The grants are available to enable the parish to:

  • survey the rights of way network
  • erect way markers and signposts
  • clear overgrown rights of way (not overhanging vegetation as this is landowners responsibility)
  • replace stiles with kissing gates (where appropriate)
  • surface amenity paths
  • install new gates and bridges
  • produce a leaflet or map board (grants are paid at a reduced rate).

The work can be tackled by parish volunteers, landowners or employment of an authorised local contractor; the more volunteers that can be involved the further your grant will go.

We aim to build on local enthusiasm and interest where this exists, and this does not replace our duty to keep the network open. The below document provides guidance about the network.

Guidance notes (pdf 3mb opens in new window)

Background to the partnership

The countryside commission launched the parish paths partnership nationwide in April 1992. Humberside county council launched a parish paths partnership scheme in 1993. The partnership continues today under the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (formed 1996).

Countryside commission funding for the scheme decreased, but due to the success of the scheme the East Riding of Yorkshire Council is funding the continuation of the scheme.

In 2007 the scheme changed its title and some of the mechanics and is now known as the local paths partnership.

Who is in the scheme?

The following parishes in East Riding of Yorkshire are already in the local paths partnership scheme and are supported by the appropriate countryside access officer.

Lesley Whitehead (west)

  • Airmyn
  • Barmby on the Marsh
  • Bielby
  • Bishop Wilton
  • Catton
  • Eastrington
  • Everingham
  • Full Sutton and Skirpenbeck
  • Gowdall
  • Melbourne
  • Pocklington
  • Snaith and Cowick
  • Stamford Bridge
  • Sutton on Derwent
  • Wilberfoss

Andrew Chudley (east);

  • Aldbrough
  • Brandesburton
  • Burton Pidsea
  • Driffield
  • Ellerby
  • Hedon
  • Leven
  • Preston
  • Rudston
  • Roos
  • Skirlaugh
  • Sproatley
  • Withernwick

Simon Parker (central);

  • Elloughton
  • Hutton Cranswick
  • Lund
  • North Ferriby
  • Sancton
  • South Cave
  • Watton

What is the local access forum?

The local access forum is an independent group which advises local authorities on public access issues, including planning, tourism, nature conservation and rights of way development. Its full name is the East Riding of Yorkshire and Kingston upon Hull joint local access forum.

Most members are volunteers representing various interests in the countryside and rights of way such as:

  • landowners
  • horse riders
  • cyclists
  • off road vehicle users
  • walkers
  • mobility impaired users
  • naturalists and others.

An elected member from each authority sits on the forum.

The forum welcomes comments and enquiries from the public, and its meetings are open to all.

Section 94 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 requires all highway and national park authorities to establish a body known as a local access forum.

You can contact the forum for further information and volunteering enquiries.

Email: accessforum@eastriding.gov.uk

Tel: (01482) 391706