Working holidays 2014–15

Volunteers getting stuck into a walling task near Woolacombe © Miranda Baham / National Trust

Volunteers getting stuck into a walling task near Woolacombe

National Trust working holidays have been running for over 40 years. They're a great way to explore the countryside, learn a new skill and make new friends as well. Each holiday will have about 12 volunteers who will live and work together to complete a conservation task. Many of the holidays have an activity too.

Croyde, Woolacombe and Mortehoe

  • Wild coastal swimming, 26 July - 2 August, £275

We are offering a unique opportunity to experience the North Devon coast and countryside whilst swimming. Wild swimming is a fantastic way to explore the coast and to enjoy the freedom and peace of being in the water. You'll take part in four wild swims at different locations and in between swims you'll help our rangers with various conservation tasks on the property. The sea swims will be fully supported by a safety team, so now's the time to take the plunge and see the coast from a new perspective. This holiday is suitable for confident swimmers who must be able to swim for at least 400 metres. Experience of open water swimming would be an advantage but not essential. In partnership with H2Outdoor.

  • Fly like a bird, 14–21 September, £295

Have you ever fancied hangliding? Well now's your chance. In partnership with Fly Like a Bird, come on a tandem flight above the North Devon countryside with experienced and fully licensed tandem pilot Sam Jeyes. You'll experience a 15-minute flight of sheer exhilaration. Depending on weather conditions, it will either be along the coast at Woolacombe or high above the picturesque estate of Arlington Court. For the rest of the week, you'll help rangers repair a stretch of stone-faced hedge bank. Flights are dependent on the weather conditions; in the event of cancellation, they can be rebooked for a later date.

  • Gorse-bashing challenge, 2–7 November and 16–20 February, £135 per week

If you're up for a challenge, come and help the ranger team clear a block of gorse on a glorious stretch of coast near Woolacombe. The gorse is on a very steep hillside and you will need to be fit and agile to cut and burn the gorse on bonfires – we'll provide the marshmallows. We conservation graze this site with Exmoor Ponies and the slope is too steep for machinery so all help is gratefully received.

West Exmoor

  • Coppicing and coastal heath restoration, 21–28 September and 12–19 October, £155 per week

Spend five days enjoying the view as you carry out important conservation work to help restore the endangered coastal heathland habitats. The work will involve felling or coppicing small pioneer trees above Woody Bay. You'll get dirty and smell of wood smoke and the work will be demanding, but it will be fun and very rewarding. Don't forget the marshmallows.

Arlington Court

  • Arlington estate management, 7–14 September and 26–31 October, £135 per week

Join our ranger team in a variety of countryside tasks around the stunning Arlington estate. You could be doing anything from dead-heading rhododendron and woodland clearance to fencing. The work will be physical but the rangers will support you and help you recover with a cream tea at the end of your holiday.

  • Gardening in Victorian splendour, 1–6 March, £135

Spring is a very busy time for the gardeners at Arlington: the property is getting ready to welcome visitors and there are lots of maintenance tasks required to bring it up to opening standard. March highlights: You'll work with the gardeners on a variety of maintenance tasks to get ready for the main visitor season, including edging, brash clearance and gravelling paths. April highlights: You'll help the gardeners prepare the property for the busy Easter opening with gardening tasks including clearance work, edging, and gravelling paths.

Search our website for more details of the holidays available