One of the key aims of the Rights of Way Team is to launch a range of initiatives that encourage people to get actively involved helping us maintain and improve the local rights of way network. You can volunteer to help us look after a range of public rights of way across the county in a parish or in town areas, along specific trails or on specific paths. So, if you love being outdoors and enjoy walking, cycling or riding your local paths, join us and get involved.
We appreciate all the volunteers who help us, and we understand that some people will be able to give more of their spare time than others. Any help you can offer, maybe with help from other local volunteers who may be willing to help you, will be greatly appreciated.
It’s important for us to highlight the important tasks of each volunteer role in each scheme so that you can make the most of your volunteering opportunity. There is more information about each of our volunteer roles in the ‘Downloads’ section of this page, or you can email the Volunteer and Trails Officer – ROWVolunteers@somerset.gov.uk
Brief descriptions of each role
Parish Path Liaison Officers (PPLOs) are volunteers who work in partnership with us nominated by their parish council. If you are unsure if your parish council has a PPLO vacancy, you can contact them or the team’s Volunteers and Trails Officer to find out. The PPLO role is one of the busiest of the roles. You are supported with a handbook, maps and a toolkit to help look after the local parish or town path network. PPLOs are expected to be able to clear vegetation regularly from around gaps, gates, stiles, signposts, bridges and at other points where paths might become difficult to use. If you have a particularly large area to monitor or you know of other people who want to be involved, you can share the role and there could be other opportunities to volunteer for the parish.
Adopt-a-Path volunteers take on the responsibility for regularly walking, riding or cycling local paths to keep them clear of seasonal growth that can hinder use. Participants will be offered a map of the paths, secateurs and gloves. It’s a great way to keep fit and healthy, and help the local community when you have the time.
Trail Watchers are volunteers who carry out a similar role to the Adopt a Path volunteers but they adopt sections to act as our eyes and ears on our promoted trails, the Coleridge Way, the River Parrett Trail, Neroche Herepath, the West Somerset Coast Path and the England Coast Path. You can adopt your favourite paths to help to make sure everyone else gets to enjoy them too.
The Somerset Strimmer scheme is where volunteers help cut back summer and winter vegetation along public footpaths and bridleways using strimmers. It is the most active of the roles because you must be capable of walking with and carrying machinery, including the kit that goes with it, and safety gear.
Again, it is a role working with a parish council, as they help to fund the training. After training, and a hand and arm vibration syndrome health survey, we loan a strimmer, with the relevant equipment, for the volunteer to use during the spring and summer months. It is collected in the winter for servicing.
If you are over 14 you could take part in our Work Experience Scheme if you are considering a career in countryside management. The scheme is designed for young people looking for a week of working with the various members of the Rights of Way team.
If you want to apply for any of these volunteer roles, use the button below to send us your contact details and the Volunteer and Trails Officer will get in touch with you to see how you would like to help.
There is more information in the ‘Downloads’ section on this page or you can email the Volunteer and Trails Officer – ROWVolunteers@somerset.gov.uk