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Volunteers! - image by John Dominick

Volunteer with us!

If you have enjoyed volunteering and want to stay involved please view the list of organisations/groups HERE who offer similar volunteering opportunities. These contacts are a great resource with which to continue volunteering as many of the activities have been a shared effort through working in partnership.

These organisations and community groups would really appreciate some extra volunteers or a helping hand on their projects - whether it’s a day, a spare couple of hours or a regular time slot, volunteering really makes a difference.

It would be fantastic to build on the work achieved through the ARC Project and the Arun and Western Streams Catchment want to help provide a variety of volunteering experiences for the future. Importantly we want everyone to keep having fun, meet new people and help conserve their local patch.

Riverflies on the Rother: Citizen science river monitoring

This scheme was set up in order to monitor the health of the river Rother and associated streams and tributaries through sampling for freshwater invertebrates. The programme feeds into the national Anglers River Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) which collates data country-wide.The ARMI schemeis operated by the Riverfly Partnership (RFP), a dynamic network of organisations representing anglers, conservationists, watercourse managers and relevant authorities, with a dedicated website and database managed by the Freshwater Biological Association. The ARMI scheme can act as a useful indicator of a river's ecological status and is sometimes called a river's 'canary' system, akin to miners who use to carry caged canaries down the mines on their helmets to act as an early warning system for safe air quality

Historically there are very few inveterbrate records for the Western Rother so the aim is to build up a network of volunteers in this area to survey agreed reaches and build up a picture of the health of the water. The initative works in partnership with all of the UK's relevant authorities to protect the water quality of our rivers and conserve these key habitats and species.

Love your river? Want to know what lies beneath the surface and become a river monitoring champion? Here’s how you can help.

To get involved you need to attend a RFP based ARMI accredited workshop. Along the Western Rother training workshops are funded once or twice a year by the South Downs National Park Authority (as at Spring 2020 workshops have been suspended) The workshops are run in conjunction with the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust (ARRT) which helps to bring together the community of the Rother ARMI volunteer surveyors.   The workshops covers the identification and survey methodology of 8 specific groups of freshwater insects. Once you have completed the training and received your certification you are then ready to choose and survey an agreed reach of the Rother. The site will be approved and registered on to the RFP database and survey results can be uploaded to the RFP/ARMI website.

The survey needs to be carried out monthly between spring and autumn so monitoring consistently is a key aspect. All training and equipment will be provided and the Rother Riverfly Co-ordinator will be on hand to provide further support.

Interested? – We’d love to hear from you. For more information about this scheme and to participate please contact Ses Wright,, Arun and Rother Rivers Trust

See the flyer HERE.



Work parties - Invasive and Non-Native Species / Practical Conservation Days

Love your local patch? We want YOU to get physical and help us remove species such as Himalayan Balsam, Skunk Cabbage and Floating Pennywort. These vigorous plants overcrowd our rivers and wetland areas and threaten native wildlife causing erosion, sedimentation and increasing flood risk. 

From scrub and Rhododendron removal to heathland and wildflower meadow management there are various sites to tackle across West Sussex and the wider catchment area, so please get in touch to find out more.

Whether you're in it to get some fresh air, exercise or meet new people, we have a task for you in the great outdoors!

Sussex Wildlife Trust

Weekly Hit Squads

  • Wednesday practical conservation hit squad for volunteers who would like to get involved with regular volunteering on the reserves. Meets weekly at Woods Mill and spends the day (9am to 5pm approx) travelling to various nature reserves in Sussex. Tasks include scrub clearance, removal of non-native species, grassland management, reed cutting, woodland management, fence repair etc. Contact Liz Francis on 01273 497562 or
  • A Saturday Conservation Hit Squad (approx 9am to 4pm). The group is based at Woods Mill, Henfield, and from there the team travels to various reserves across both East and West Sussex to carry out vital conservation tasks. Contact Sarah Quantrill at
  • Wednesday conservation hit squad based in the Midhurst area. The group carries out practical conservation tasks on Wednesdays at various heathland sites such as Stedham and Iping Commons, Graffham Common, Ambersham & Heyshot Commons and Weavers Down. Contact Jane Willmott on 07557 162406 or  
  • Monthly task day usually a Saturday and/or Tuesday at Ebernoe Common SU 975 278 near Petworth and Wisborough Green. Meet at 10am at Ebernoe church (down track signposted church, 1 mile east of A283). Almost 200 acres of ancient woodland with glades and ponds plus 200 acres of farmland, much of which is now being grazed as part of the conversion from arable to wood pasture. Tasks are to control the invasive bracken and holly and keep the glades and rides open for butterflies. Contact Colin Booty on 01403 732175.

For further information see HERE for Sussex Wildlife Trust's work party schedule.


Gatwick Greenspace Partnership

Works to benefit people, wildlife and the countryside between Horsham, Crawley, Horley, Reigate and Dorking. Regular volunteer tasks include rhododendron removal, heathland management, pond work, tree planting, installation of boardwalks and stiles etc. Contact Kevin Lerwill at


Graffham Down Trust

The current focus of management is to maintain a diverse range of habitats from chalk grassland to woodland with plenty of glades, rides and opportunities for different species of fauna and flora.  A key role of the reserves is to provide connectivity for the various species between the more prevalent areas of grassland to the East and West. In the 2016/17 season, Graffham Down Trust are embarking on monthly ‘mega’ work parties including the offer of lifts from Graffham Church up to the Down plus cake (hopefully with tea/coffee). Contact Jim Kirke on 

For further information see HERE for Graffham Down Trust's work party schedule.



Interested in wildlife surveying?

Ponds and wetland areas are important water resources for wildlife, people and agricultural use. They also play an integral part in flood storage and buffering for climate change.

We're asking for as many volunteers as possible to get involved, don boots or wellies and help survey ponds across West Sussex. Volunteering includes surveying - looking for and recording the presence of frogs, newts and toads and also water quality testing.

Please get in touch to find out more. Contact Francesca Dunn at