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Volunteer opportunities at River Wey Navigations

Volunteer welcoming visitors at Dunham Massey, Cheshire
Volunteer welcoming visitors to River Wey Navigations, Surrey. | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Each year volunteers join us in caring for the River Wey, Godalming Navigations and Dapdune Wharf. There are plenty of roles that are interesting and rewarding; find out how you can volunteer, make new friends and help others to enjoy this peaceful place in Surrey.

A wide variety of roles

Whether you like chatting with visitors or getting involved behind the scenes, there's a role to suit everyone. Just a few hours one day a week (or fortnight) from all our volunteers helps make The River Wey the lively, engaging place that our visitors enjoy.

Visitor service roles

Volunteers in the visitor centre welcome all visitors and help to bring the Navigations' history to life. Based at Dapdune Wharf in Guildford the centre is open from March until October. The site tells the story of the Navigations’ history since it opened in 1653, the cargoes the Wey barges carried and what happened in the era of barge building. If you like helping people then this could be the role for you. We are also trying to increase our children's engagement offer and need more volunteers to help out with managing active and craft activities. Do drop us an email to the address below if you are interested.

Conservation work

Conservation volunteers meet at different locations along both the Wey and Godalming Navigations and work with the different lengthsmen. You’ll be involved with hands-on work along the waterway. If you enjoy spending time outside with like-minded people then this role may appeal to you.

Book Shed

The bookshop volunteers love getting the Book Shed ready and helping visitors find something they will enjoy. As a bookshop volunteer, you’ll be sorting through the book donations, creating attractive displays and supporting the sales of any unique vintage books at auction. Alongside a warm friendly welcome where visitors love to spend time, you can take pride in knowing you’re making a valuable contribution to this place by raising funds through book sales.

Guided walks

We have a number of walks of varying length which cover all areas of the Navigations from Godalming to Thames Lock and the surrounding towns and villages. If you’re a keen walker and like meeting people, you could volunteer to lead some of these walks or provide back up to walk leaders. Most walks take place during the winter months – a great time to get outside and keep healthy.

Ranger working with volunteer rangers to build steps and a pathway at Lyme Park, Cheshire
Volunteers working outside at River Wey Navigations | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Sewing group

If you're interested in sewing, you could join the group of volunteers who get together on the fourth Wednesday of the month. The group started out making outfits for an event, which they enjoyed so much that they decided to continue. Activities include making period costume for children to dress up in when visiting the wharf. If you’re creative and interested in crafts then this role may appeal to you.

Boat skippers

Boat skipper volunteers take boat trips along the waterway and give a commentary along the way.

This is a popular role and currently has a waiting list to join. As part of the role we’ll train you to achieve the Inland Waterways Helmsman's Certificate to ensure your boat handling skills are up to scratch. In return for putting you through the training you’d need to commit to volunteering at least two weekend days and two other days a month.

Why join us?

There are lots of reasons to join us; making the move to volunteer could be the best decision you ever make.

  • Become part of a friendly and dedicated team
  • Meet people from all walks of life and forge new friendships
  • Utilise your existing skills and learn new ones
  • Strengthen your CV and help to develop your career
  • Enjoy the great outdoors
  • Learn about the history of this special place.

Volunteers dressed up in period costumes at Shalford Mill, Surrey
Volunteers dressed up in period costumes at Shalford Mill, Surrey | © National Trust Images/Derek Croucher

Everyone is welcome

Our diverse volunteering team comes from all walks of life, many of whom are active retired people who aren't ready to put their feet up yet.

Volunteering as a student is also a very popular way to gain valuable experience before moving on to employment within the National Trust or elsewhere.

Want to find out more?

If you are interested in volunteering please contact us to find a role for you. Please email the team at:

Thank you

Thank you to all our volunteers who give their time to support the National Trust in many different roles.

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