Clean the beach
AS LITTER continues to clog our seas, beach cleans are proliferating. If you’ve got limited time, Surfers Against Sewage is organising a series of (non-board-based) UK-wide events from April 18-26 and October 17-25 (sas.org.uk). You could head to the south-west on April 18-19 for the Great Dorset Beach Clean weekend, which has been going for three decades (litterfreecoastandsea.co.uk). Last year, its 752 volunteers filled some 214 rubbish bags between Friars Cliff to Lyme Regis. If those dates don’t work, the Marine Conservation Society (mcsuk.org) and Plastic Patrol (pictured above, plasticpatrol.co.uk) — with paddleboard-based options — list clean-ups year-round.
Between April and October, the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust runs six to 11-night expedition voyages around Scotland’s Inner, Outer and Southern Hebrides for research and conservation purposes. Last year witnessed record numbers of applications. Sleeping in double berths aboard the Silurian, a yacht previously chartered by Blue Planet’s film-makers, six inexperienced volunteers learn the fundamentals of — and need for — surveying cetaceans from four guides. Likely sightings include bottlenose dolphins, porpoises and killer whales — with endangered basking sharks decidedly the top trump. Six-night voyages from £995pp, full board, hwdt.org.
Become a WWOOFer
WWOOF places amateur volunteers at more than 550 organic farms and gardens around the country. No money changes hands, food is provided and you typically spend half a day performing wide-ranging tasks. New options for 2020 include the chance to bottle kefir, milk Jersey cows and harvest salad at a farm near Dartmoor in Devon (search for reference ‘1003692’). The minimum stay there is two weeks but plenty of shorter options are available, including weekends or weeks at a seaside willow farm (ref ‘1009855’) on North Wales’s wild Llyn Peninsula, near Snowdonia, based in a caravan. See wwoof.org.uk.
Fix the fells
Among the National Trust’s array of working holidays is a project from August 15-22 repairing an eroded path in the Lake District’s famous fells. You’ll learn all about the artisan stone-pitching and wool-stuffing techniques that help preserve Britain’s most popular walking terrain. One full day — and a small portion of all others — is entirely devoted to that, with another spent with volunteer ‘lengthsmen’ who do this all the time. The group of eight lodge in a bunkhouse in wooded grounds above Lake Windermere, one with self-catering facilities and a barbecue for alfresco team-bonding meals. £190 room-only, nationaltrust.org.uk.