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Making a difference

Sustrans volunteer ranger handbook

Contents Page
Welcome from our chief executive 3

Part 1 Your role as a ranger – an introduction 4

Part 2 Getting started 5

2.1 Your voluntary agreement with us
2.2 Volunteer support
• Contacts, help and general information
• Training
• Event planning and safety
• Insurance
• Young people and vulnerable adults
• Expenses
• Discounts
2.3 Additional important information
• Representing Sustrans
• Disputes
Part 3 Teamwork – who you need to know
Part 4 Ranger tasks
4.1 Practical tasks
• Signing
• Litter, glass and fly-tipping
• Vegetation control
• Mileposts
• Graffiti and other problems
• Biodiversity
• Workdays
4.2 Promotion and events
• Stalls and displays
• Photography
• Talks
• Publicity champions
• Rides and walks
• Media contacts
• Workplace activities
4.3 Fundraising
• Sponsored and fundraising events
• Fundraising champions
Part 5 Working safely
5.1 Event plans and risk assessments
5.2 Carrying out practical work safely – protective equipment and safe use of tools
5.3 Organising rides safely
5.4 Out on your own
5.5 Working alongside water
Part 6 Appendix
Workday checklist
Rides checklist
Available signs and sign order form
Defect report form
Expense claim form
Contacts and resources
Sustrans in your community
Welcome to the UK’s leading
sustainable transport charity
The ranger programme is our great
Sustrans is the UK’s leading sustainable
success story, and I am really pleased transport charity.
that you have joined us. By being our Our vision is a world in which people choose
to travel in ways that benefit their health and
eyes and ears on the National Cycle the environment. We work on practical,
Network, volunteer rangers have innovative solutions to the transport
challenges facing us all. Sustrans is the charity
changed the face of Sustrans, behind the award-winning National Cycle
enabling us to do so much more, Network, Safe Routes to Schools, Bike It,
TravelSmart, Active Travel, Connect2 and
sharing local knowledge, and giving Liveable Neighbourhoods, all projects that are
us a presence in all corners of changing our world one mile at a time.

England, Wales, Scotland and To find out more visit www.sustrans.org.uk

or call 0845 113 00 65.
Northern Ireland. You will work with
us and our partners to help keep local Sustrans, 2 Cathedral Square, College Green,
Bristol BS1 5DD.
routes well signed and maintained Photo credits: Jonathon Hamill-Keayes (front
Sustrans has always involved and promote Sustrans and our work cover), Ken Groom (page 20), Kieran
volunteers to help us achieve our Chambers (page 23), other rangers and staff.
in the community so that we attract Design: www.trmvs.co.uk
vision of a world in which people more support and become an even Proofreading by Paul Beverley:
can choose to travel in ways that www.archivepub.co.uk
more effective charity. © Sustrans 2009 Registered Charity No.
benefit their health and the 326550 (England and Wales) SC039263
(Scotland). VAT Registration No. 416740656
environment. We started more than However you help, your donation of
30 years ago with volunteer work time and effort enables us to reach
Sustrans Ranger programme is grateful for
camps helping to build some of our more people and build an even more support from the Welsh Assembly Government,
very first routes. Now more than successful movement. Thank you for the Big Lottery Fund, the Scottish Executive,
many local authorities and charitable trusts.
2,500 volunteers help in many your commitment to Sustrans. Now
crucial areas of our work from read on and find out more about how
maintaining the National Cycle you can help us as a ranger and how
Network to leading rides and walks Sustrans will help you to help us.
to enable more people to be active
in their everyday lives, and helping
Sustrans to enthuse children to
cycle to school.

You can promote our work by

distributing our publications or giving
a talk, or if you have the knowledge Malcolm Shepherd
you could join our team of technical Chief Executive
volunteers who have helped to design
bridges and culverts! Once you are a
Sustrans volunteer you will find a
range of opportunities to match both
the time and skills you can offer.

Your role as a ranger

Part 1 Your role as a ranger –

an introduction

Rangers help Sustrans with practical tasks,

promotion and fundraising. You will do some
of these tasks by yourself, and others
together with your fellow volunteers. On
average, rangers spend five hours a month
helping Sustrans, but many volunteers choose
to donate much more time than this.

Practical tasks bridges and drainage systems. What

You will usually be allocated a section you do depends on your skills,
of route to help look after. Think of this interests and time. For full details turn
as your route and take a pride in it. to ‘Practical ranger tasks’ on page 12.
There are no set hours but we expect
you to check it at least once a month Promotional tasks
(traffic-free) or once every two months The work of Sustrans is benefiting
(on road) and to do what you can to communities throughout the UK, and
correct any problems following the we rely on rangers to help spread the
guidelines in this handbook. word about Sustrans locally, thereby
making us a stronger and more
Look out for missing or damaged influential charity. You can do this by
signs, vegetation that is encroaching distributing our publicity to local
onto the route, vandalism, litter and outlets, organising publicity events
any other damage to the route that will such as information stalls and family
put people off using it. If you can’t rides, or giving talks in schools,
repair the problem yourself, report it to workplaces and other organisations.
the maintenance authority. Practical For full details, turn to ‘Promoting
ranger tasks can include replacing Sustrans’ on page 21.
missing signs, cutting back vegetation,
litter picking or organising a group or Fundraising
public workday to deal with a bigger As a charity the money that we raise is
problem such as filling in potholes or put to hard work within communities
widening the path by removing UK-wide. Rangers make an important
encroaching vegetation. You may need contribution to fundraising by
the permission of the landowner to organising sponsored events on the
undertake some of these tasks. National Cycle Network and running
other fundraisers, from pedalling
Many rangers also offer practical help picnics to bicycle barbecues, and
in other areas of our work. There are jumble sales to virtual sponsored
rangers who help Sustrans organise sustainable journeys around the world!
events in schools with children, or lead For full details, turn to ‘Fundraising for
rides and walks for people keen to be Sustrans’ on page 25.
more physically active, or even design

Getting started
Part 2 Getting started
2.1 Your voluntary • work co-operatively as part of a
agreement with us team with other volunteers, Sustrans
We expect you to perform your staff and our partners such as local
volunteer ranger role to the best of authorities
your ability and that you will: • respect the confidentiality of contact
• promote the aims and values of details of other volunteers and staff
Sustrans • familiarise yourself with Sustrans and
• help to monitor and maintain your its many different projects.
allocated local route at least once a
month if it is traffic-free and at least 2.2 Volunteer support
once every two months if it is on We will do the best we can to make
road your volunteer experience with us
• inform us if you are no longer able to enjoyable and rewarding and to
carry out your ranger tasks enable you to carry out your agreed
• follow Sustrans volunteer guidelines tasks.
relating to volunteer ranger tasks, as
explained in this handbook, Contacts, help and general
newsletters and at ranger days information
• work safely at all times and implement • This ranger handbook is essential
the Sustrans risk assessment reading for new and established
procedures in this handbook rangers. It has all the information that
• attend your next regional ranger day you need to get started as a ranger.
as a new ranger and then attend a Please make sure that you are familiar
regional ranger day at least every with it, and use it as a reference tool
other year to guide your volunteer activities.

Getting started

• The contact sheet enclosed with this contact sheet and they are all listed at
Your volunteer handbook will help you to work as the back of this handbook.
part of a team with fellow volunteers, • Your liaison ranger will be able to
support office Sustrans staff and our other partners. give you more information about local
will be pleased Use it to make contact with other contacts, group meetings and
local rangers, and also with your activities, and other ways that you
to hear from you volunteer liaison ranger if you are part can help Sustrans locally.
of a local Sustrans volunteer group. • the movement, the magazine for
and help answer
Liaison rangers coordinate Sustrans Sustrans volunteers, is your
any questions, volunteer groups and are an excellent biannual magazine published every
source of advice and information and spring and autumn. Tell us what you
however big or will be able to tell you about any have been doing so that we can
small. planned group events and meetings. inform and inspire others. Send your
• The VolunteerNet is a goldmine of photos and articles to the volunteer
information. It’s a password-protected support office at Sustrans in Bristol.
website for Sustrans volunteers. It is
regularly updated with the latest Training
news, and contains contact details of • Ranger days are a must for new and
key staff and liaison rangers, has experienced rangers. They are usually
regional and country pages, held annually in Scotland, Wales and
information on other Sustrans Northern Ireland, and in most of the
projects, a lively discussion forum, English regions. They change location
downloadable publications and useful from year to year to give as many
forms for you to use, including risk rangers as possible the opportunity to
assessments and expense claims. attend. We’ll write to you when there
You can link to Sustrans volunteer is a ranger day near you. We expect
group websites from the local pages, you to come if possible, so we’ll pay
post your pictures on the photo your fares and ensure that you have a
album, use the calendar to list your fun, informative and sociable day out
events, or ask a question on the that will inspire you and keep you
forum. If you want to find out how to motivated.
do something, or ask other rangers
for advice, this is the place to be. You’ll begin with a local ride, meet
Log on at other rangers and Sustrans staff and
www.sustransvolunteers.co.uk hear the latest news on the National
using your full name as username and Cycle Network and all our other
your ranger number as password. activities. We will update you on all
• Your volunteer support office will be issues relevant to rangers, such as
pleased to hear from you and help signing and how to plan events, so
answer any questions, however big or you feel entirely confident volunteering
small. They can also provide you with for Sustrans. The emphasis is on
a lot of practical support from things discussion, so be prepared to talk!
such as litter pickers to helping to We want to know what you think
publicise your events, or even about Sustrans and the ranger role.
attending your local volunteer group It’s also our opportunity to say a big
meeting. We have listed your thank you for all you do for us.
volunteer support office on your

Getting started
• Local group meetings are Insurance
Complete an organised on an occasional basis Sustrans holds public liability insurance
usually by your liaison ranger. They cover that applies to all volunteer
event plan and are an opportunity for all local rangers and participants in Sustrans
risk assessment volunteers to get together, share events. (We do not provide personal
experiences and tips, and make accident cover.) Volunteer rangers
when you plans. Sustrans staff from the acting on Sustrans’ behalf, and doing
regions or the volunteer team may
organise an so in accordance with the issued
sometimes attend, so they can be guidelines on health and safety in this
event, and an excellent way for you to keep in handbook, are protected from claims
touch without travelling far. against them by our insurance policy.
always send a
By following the event planning
copy to your Event planning and safety process, completing the risk
Sustrans takes the safety of its assessment form and then
volunteer volunteers and the public very implementing your plan, you are
support office. seriously. Sustrans has event planning demonstrating that you are taking
and risk assessment procedures for reasonable steps to prevent an
you to use. They apply both to lone accident happening.
working as a volunteer ranger and also
to group activities. They are simple,
If you plan to organise any
clear and systematic, and will help you
event targeted at under 18s or
to plan enjoyable, well-organised and
vulnerable adults or if you are
safe events. Risk assessment
expecting more than 30
procedures are needed for most
participants at a public event
events such as public rides and
such as a ride, walk or
volunteer workdays, and for all events
volunteer workday, please talk
on canal and river paths and those
to your volunteer support office
involving young or vulnerable people.
at least four weeks in advance
Protective and/or high visibility clothing
to ensure that the event will be
may be needed for some events.
covered by our insurers.
Power tools may not be used by
volunteers without both relevant
training and approval by local staff. Young people, vulnerable
adults and Sustrans
Please ensure that you read Part 5, Sustrans encourages the participation
page 26 on working safely. If you of young people and vulnerable adults,
have any questions, contact your but it also recognises that some
volunteer support office for further volunteer-led activities and events may
advice. not be appropriate for them. We have
clear procedures in place to ensure
that young and vulnerable participants
are safe and well supervised. In
addition we have both child protection
for event plans and risk
and criminal record disclosure policies,
assessment forms or ask your
which can be supplied on request.
volunteer support office.

Getting started

The minimum age to volunteer as a cheaper train fares. Where car use is
Bike discounts ranger is 18. Under 18s may assist unavoidable, you may claim 34 pence
their parents under their supervision, if per mile, or, if you prefer, you can claim
for rangers the parents are registered as rangers. a fuel-only rate. Please submit a fuel
We are very grateful to Under 18s are welcome to participate VAT receipt with your claim, covering
two of the best folding- under parental supervision in at least the distance travelled. You may
bike companies for giving appropriate ranger events such as claim for essential cycle use at 20
a 15% discount to rangers
family rides. 16-to 18 year-olds may be pence per mile.
to enable you to carry out
your tasks on your route.
able to participate in events
unsupervised, but written parental If you volunteer for a whole day (71/2
Birdy makes a range of
consent will always be required. hours plus 1 hour for lunch) you can
superb fully suspended
and geared folding bikes.
claim the cost of lunch up to a
To claim your Birdy If you have contact, or anticipate future maximum of £5.00.
discount you will need to contact, as a Sustrans volunteer with
show your Volunteer ID to young people or vulnerable adults you If you anticipate an unusual expense
your local Birdy dealer. must seek guidance from your such as the cost of an overnight stay,
Find out where your
volunteer support office and a criminal please contact your volunteer support
nearest dealer is by
visiting Birdy’s German
records check may be required. office in advance to check that we can
website: www.r-m.de cover it.
If you already work with young people
Brompton makes possibly
the most famous folder in
or vulnerable adults (e.g. as a teacher, All claims must be submitted to your
the world. To claim a Scout or Guide leader, or through the volunteer support office on a volunteer
discount on a Brompton Duke of Edinburgh scheme or other expense claim form, accompanied by
bicycle ask your volunteer youth project) and you would like to relevant VAT receipts.
support office for a involve them in a ranger type event or
Brompton discount
young ranger group, please contact See appendix for volunteer
voucher and then present
the voucher to your local
your volunteer support office. We will claim form or download a copy
dealer. For more be very pleased to hear from you and from:
information visit: to help make your project a success. www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk

These discounts are only Expenses

available to rangers. No volunteer should be out of pocket. Discounts
If you incur expenses as a volunteer All volunteers are eligible for 50% off
ranger you can claim them back using NCN maps and 20% off most other
a volunteer expense claim form. Typical items. You can order online at
expenses might include essential bike www.sustransshop.co.uk or
mileage, fares to training, small by phone on 0845 113 0065. Please
hand tools, as well as other out-of- have your volunteer number ready.
pocket costs incurred as a result of Rangers are also entitled to discounts
volunteering. on folding bikes, see left.

When organising travel to training

meetings or other events please travel
as sustainably as possible, by bike,
public transport or car share. Please
use the most cost-effective transport
All discounts are subject to alteration available, for example by pre-booking
or withdrawal at any time.

Getting started
2.3 Additional important
Always refer information
enquiries from
Representing Sustrans
journalists about As a local volunteer for Sustrans, you
are a key contact for members of the
planning and public and a vital link between
policy to our Sustrans and the communities that we
work in. The people you meet while
press office. out on your route might seek your
opinion on Sustrans policy, our work,
our partner organisations or even on
planning matters. Please refer them
directly to the Sustrans information line
(0845 113 0065).

Occasionally, you may even be

approached by local journalists who
wish to include information about
Sustrans in one of their stories. If that
should happen please call the Sustrans
press office on 0117 927 7555. The
press office ensures that Sustrans is
represented positively and
appropriately through the media. They
will be able to make a decision about
what kind of response Sustrans should
make and who it should come from,
and will ensure that all responses
follow the Sustrans policies so that our
views remain consistent. They are also
equipped to handle any potentially
sensitive stories.

It is unlikely that you will have a dispute
but, if you do have a problem, raise it
with your volunteer support office and
they will try to resolve it. Sustrans
expects all volunteers to follow the
guidelines in this handbook, and other
guidance given, to the best of their
abilities. Sustrans may terminate your
role if you fail to follow our guidance,
or if your action conflicts with the
interests of the organisation.


Volunteer rangers work together in local Sustrans volunteer

groups, coordinated by their volunteer liaison ranger, with
Sustrans staff and with other partners involved in the
ownership, development and maintenance of the routes.

Part 3 Teamwork–who you need to know

Volunteer groups to your neighbouring rangers, and help
Volunteering should be fun as well as you to organise your first meeting and
making good use of your time and get your group off the ground.
skills. That’s why we encourage
rangers to work together in local Liaison rangers
Sustrans volunteer groups. There are Sustrans volunteer groups are
more than 200 local groups and they coordinated by liaison rangers who are
bring together rangers, Active Travel, the main point of contact between
Bike It volunteers and others who may volunteers, Sustrans, local authorities
take on specific volunteer roles such and our other partners.
as fundraising, workdays, ride leading
or organising publicity and displays. Liaison rangers will rely on your help
They meet regularly to share ideas and and will be very pleased if you can
information and plan their activities take responsibility for one of the
including rides, workdays, signing days group’s regular activities. They are also
and publicity exhibitions. volunteers and can’t do everything by
Sustrans or local authority staff attend
some group meetings, so they are a Liaison rangers liaise with staff and our
useful way of making local contacts. partners about local maintenance
Every year each group completes a plans and other issues that will affect
group plan with their local Sustrans both you and other users of the route.
staff. This enables them to plan their So if you have a question, ask your
activities and for individual group liaison ranger first.
members to take on specific activities
to suit their time, interests and skills. If you plan to change the route that
you look after, or you need to take a
There are still a few areas where we prolonged break from your ranger
don’t have an active group. Don’t be a activities, don’t forget to let your liaison
lone ranger! If you are working alone, ranger know.
check the local pages of the
VolunteerNet to find your nearest If you haven’t got a liaison ranger, let
group and liaison ranger or ask your your volunteer support office know if
volunteer support office for help to set you are interested in taking on the role.
up a new group. We can introduce you

Regional Sustrans staff We call these partners the
It is essential Each region of the UK has Sustrans maintenance authorities as they usually
regional directors and area managers. have overall responsibility for
that you Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland maintaining the routes. They will
familiarise have their own national directors. It’s welcome your input, and most of them
their job to oversee all our local encourage rangers to undertake the
yourself with the activities from route development to essential tasks described in the
following section of this handbook. It is
maintenance Bike It, Travel Smart and Connect2.
They are very grateful for the huge essential that you make contact with
authority, and contribution that you make in the maintenance authority on your
promoting Sustrans and helping to look section of route, either through your
any agreement liaison ranger or direct, so that you can
after the National Cycle Network. They
that they may may also draw on your technical skills, agree how your help can contribute to
local knowledge and contacts when their maintenance plan. This is
have with planning and developing new routes. important because practice may vary
Sustrans rangers around the country. For example,
Sustrans regional staff can’t get to some landowners such as British
to help look after know each of you individually, but they Waterways may have their own health
and safety requirements for working
the route. do meet with the liaison ranger to
agree a group plan and to ensure that alongside water, which volunteers
we are making best use of your help. must follow. Other landowners like the
If you have relevant technical or National Trust may adopt slightly
professional skills or contacts that you different guidelines to signing the
think would benefit our work, please National Cycle Network through some
email your regional staff and let them of their estates.
Your liaison ranger should know of any
Landowners and local arrangements that will affect you,
maintenance authorities such as who to send reports to, or
Sustrans has coordinated the what local agreements there are about
development of the whole of the signing by volunteer rangers. If you
National Cycle Network, but we only have no liaison ranger it is even more
construct, own and manage a fraction important that you check in with your
of the routes ourselves. Sustrans maintenance authority and introduce
volunteer rangers, however, help us yourself.
and our partners to look after the
whole of the National Cycle Network. If you are unsure who the maintenance
authority is, check with your liaison
Most rangers help look after routes ranger, Sustrans regional staff or the
managed or owned by our partners, volunteer support office.
usually local authorities (Roads Service
in Northern Ireland), but also the If you are helping to look after a
National Trust, British Waterways, section that is managed by Sustrans,
Forestry Commission and other we may write to you to ask you to
landowners. undertake more regular route

Ranger tasks

Part 4 Ranger tasks

There is always plenty to do as a ranger.

There are three main types of activities:
practical tasks, publicity and fundraising.

4.1 Practical ranger Monitoring and helping to

tasks on your route maintain your route
You should monitor your route at least
Starting out monthly (traffic-free) or two monthly (on
Before beginning your practical ranger road). These are the typical things that
tasks we suggest that you ride your you will look out for:
section of route to assess the type of • signs that are missing, turned the
tasks that might need doing and also wrong way, vandalized or misleading
identify any minor hazards that you • litter, glass and fly-tipping
should be aware of such as road • branches, brambles, nettles and
crossings, steep slopes, and rivers or other vegetation encroaching onto
canals. It is always better to be aware the route
in advance so that you can take • graffiti and other vandalism
appropriate action to minimise and • weather damage
avoid any risks. • mileposts in need of painting

You might find it helpful to use the risk You will be able to deal with some of
assessment form downloadable from these yourself, but you may need to
www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk. Please report bigger problems so that they
also make sure that you have read get dealt with as quickly as possible by
Part 5 of this handbook ‘Working the maintenance authority. This section
safely’ before beginning your ranger looks at each of these maintenance
activities. issues in turn. Before you begin work,
make sure that you have read Part 5,
Working safely.

Ranger tasks
Signing the National Cycle Always make sure that you or your
The signs put Network ranger team have the permission of
The most important task that you the signing authority before you sign
up by rangers should do is to check and maintain the your route! Check what signing
are considered signs on your route. It only takes one agreement exists between local
missing sign for someone to lose their rangers and the signing authority, as it
temporary, but way. Please check the signs every time may vary from one area to another.
This is best done either through your
are essential to you cycle your route, and if there is a
sign missing, replace it with a liaison ranger, or by inviting a
ensure that temporary sign. Detailed guidelines on representative from the signing
how to do this are provided below. authority to a ranger group meeting. If
missing signs you do not have a liaison ranger, check
are quickly with your regional or area Sustrans
manager before signing your route.
Keep the signing authority informed of
any permanent signs that are
damaged or missing and need
replacing, by email or on a defect
report form.

Essential signing How can you tell when a sign is

What authority do you have to sign missing?
the National Cycle Network? People who are new to the area should
Most routes are owned and maintained be able to follow the route just by
by local authorities (Roads Service in following the signs. The best way to
Northern Ireland), who usually have a check signing on your route is to
responsibility for permanent signing. organise a signing ride with your ranger
Other organisations may be team, or ride it with a friend who hasn’t
responsible for permanent signing cycled your route before. They will
where they own sections of route, immediately notice where the signing is
such as British Waterways, the unclear. The best time to do this is
National Trust or Sustrans. These early each spring, so you can get the
organisations are referred to as signing perfect by May or June.
‘signing authorities’.
Where should there be a sign?
The signs put up by rangers are Wherever the route changes direction
considered temporary, but are or there is any doubt about which way
essential to ensure that missing signs to go, there should be a clearly visible,
are quickly replaced. Rangers need the unambiguous sign pointing cyclists in
agreement of the signing authority to the right direction.
put up temporary signs. Most signing
authorities are very over-stretched There should be confirmation signs
and welcome help from volunteer immediately after junctions and at
rangers to ensure that routes are approximately one-mile intervals to
continuously signed. reassure users that they are still on the
National Cycle Network.

Ranger tasks

visit www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk for

the full range of signs and a sign order

How do you put signs up?

Generally attach rigid plastic signs to
wooden posts, and stickers to existing
metal posts. Do not attach signs to the
Which sign should be used? face board of road signs or to the
Use a template Sustrans National poles of traffic signals.
Cycle Network sign, which must also
carry a route number patch. You may If you are nailing a rigid plastic sign to
also attach an optional arrow to a gate or similar use galvanised nails
indicate a change of direction. as they do not rust, and ask the
Confirmation signs will generally not permission of the owner first.
need an arrow. Never use a route
number or arrow without attaching it to Take care to ensure that signs are
the template National Cycle Network visible, neat and vertical.
sign. Where possible, use rigid plastic
signs as they are more durable than If a sign is absolutely essential, but
stickers. there is nowhere to attach it to, inform
the signing authority, as they may be
able to erect a permanent sign. You
could also consider the possibility of
erecting a wooden post which you can
then fix the sign to, but you should
seek the local authority’s or
landowner’s permission before doing
this so that a check can be done for
any services below the surface.

On traffic-free routes which are shared

by walkers and cyclists it will often be
appropriate to add the shared use
sticker (for example on paths owned
by British Waterways or the National

A range of warning and information

signs are available for specific
situations. For example, information
boards can be placed at popular entry
points on traffic-free routes to raise
awareness about Sustrans and the
National Cycle Network. Attach them
to available posts, with the permission
of the landowner. See the appendix or

Ranger tasks
Dealing with other signing Advanced signing
Once your route problems Once your route is continuously
Graffiti signed, you can also help to sign
is continuously Please clean signs with graffiti remover destinations and short links to the
signed, you can available from your volunteer support National Cycle Network.
office and follow the safety instructions
also help to sign on the container. Destination patches
destinations and Signs are much more useful if they tell
Vegetation people where they are going and how
short links to the Signs can easily become obscured by far away the destinations are. Many
vegetation, especially in the summer. permanent signs now display this
National Cycle
Please cut back vegetation around information. Every main entrance point
Network. signs, or report it if you can’t reach it. to traffic-free routes should display
Take care not to disturb nesting birds. destinations that can be reached on
the National Cycle Network. It is also
Over-signing useful to signpost destinations (e.g.
Don’t over-sign. One sign at each railway stations) near the National
location, as in these guidelines, should Cycle Network that can be reached
be enough. If there is good highway from exit points. Where this information
signing in place do not duplicate it by is not displayed on permanent signs,
adding a Sustrans National Cycle you can order destination patches
Network route sign in the same location. which should be attached to the base
of a template National Cycle Network
Removing and replacing old signs sign.
If there are old style, worn, incomplete
or crooked temporary signs, please
remove and replace them, or cover
them with new signs, otherwise they
can look very untidy. If new permanent
highway signs have been erected,
please remove any temporary signs
that they replace.

Incorrect permanent signs

You may be able to correct signs that
point in the wrong direction with an
adjustable spanner, but do not put
yourself at any risk if you cannot reach
the sign.

Dangerous obstacles
If there are access barriers, bridges or
posts that present a potential danger
when travelling on your route at night,
you can make them safer by attaching
a reflective sticker, available in sheets
from Sustrans.

Ranger tasks

Each destination patch can carry up to Litter, glass and fly-tipping

Always wear four destinations with distances and a Rangers can make an important
direction arrow. The format can be contribution towards keeping paths
gloves, and flexible. Please use the order form in clear, either working individually or by
report any major, the appendix or on organising a litter pick. Most litter does
www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk, or not involve any significant risk, but
persistent or send specific requirements to: before doing a litter pick please assess
dangerous litter any hazards using a workday plan and
risk assessment (see appendix). Do
problems to the Signing short links to and from the not handle insanitary waste, sharps
National Cycle Network such as needles, or heavy items such
local authority. It can often be useful to sign a short as dumped furniture. You may sweep
link to or from the National Cycle small amounts of glass off the path or
Network, for example if a station, town dispose of carefully off site. Always
or village centre is nearby. This can wear gloves, and report any major,
help to increase usage of local routes persistent or dangerous litter and glass
by walkers and cyclists by identifying problems to the local authority.
easy and safe access routes. Rangers
are best placed to identify these short Under the Environment Protection Act
links as you know the local ‘desire 1990 local authorities have a duty to
lines’ and have local knowledge about respond to and deal with complaints
quiet routes that could link to the NCN. about litter on public land. Contact
If you have suggestions for links that them before organising litter picks as
you would like to sign, please survey they may be pleased to provide litter
them and send an email summary pickers and black bags and will dispose
suggestion to your regional director or of litter that you collect. Alternatively,
area manager. They may then ask you your volunteer support office can
to sign the link with temporary or provide you with a litter picker.
purpose-made signs.

Ordering signs:
See the appendix or visit
for a full list of available signs
and a sign order form. Email
orders to signs@sustrans.org.uk
or post them to Signs, National
Cycle Network Centre,
2 Cathedral Square, Bristol,
BS1 5DD. To discuss a specific
sign order, call Signs at
0117 915 0238.

Ranger tasks
Vegetation control invasive weeds and are both becoming
We all like greenery, but vegetation can an increasing problem.
get out of control, encroaching onto
your route and obscuring signs which Ragwort can be dangerous to horses
makes the route less attractive for and there is a legal duty on
users. You can play a really useful role landowners to control it in England and
by helping to keep your route clear Wales. Where it represents a threat to
with these simple actions. horses, it should be pulled up and
removed off site or burned before it
Traffic-free routes goes to seed. Wear gloves at all time
Check your route regularly so that you when handling ragwort. If ragwort is
can identify and deal with problems spreading in your area, please report it
before they get out of hand. Cut back urgently to the route maintenance
overhanging branches, brambles and authority.
nettles to keep the path clear and
signs visible. If the problem becomes Knotweed is so vigorous and
too big to cope with using simple hand damaging that it is beyond the means
tools by yourself, report it to the of rangers to control it. If you identify
Cut back Japanese knotweed on your route you
maintenance authority or consider
overhanging organising a group workday to get to should notify the route maintenance
grips with the vegetation. See the authority. Most local authorities have a
branches, section below on ‘Workdays’. Please policy for the removal of this weed.
brambles and do not use power tools unless you
have approval from your volunteer
nettles to keep support office or local Sustrans staff.
Fact sheets on ragwort and
Japanese knotweed, including
the path clear • Always wear gloves when dealing
pictures to help you to identify
with vegetation, and appropriate
and signs visible. them, can be found on the
clothing, to avoid the risk of
VolunteerNet or are available
scratched arms and legs. Consider
from your volunteer support
wearing eye defenders if dealing with
• Push cuttings well out of the way of
cyclists and walkers. By making
small piles of cuttings on the verge
you will create new wildlife habitats.
• Do not undertake any major
vegetation clearance in bird nesting
season – early March to August.

On-road routes
Always ask the route maintenance
authority to undertake any necessary
vegetation clearance. Never put
yourself at any risk from traffic.

Invasive plants
Ragwort and Japanese knotweed are

Ranger tasks

Millennium mileposts defaced with graffiti please try to

If you can’t deal There are more than 1000 mileposts remove it using a graffiti removal kit
on the National Cycle Network, and available from your volunteer support
with a problem they all need looking after. We usually office.
yourself, you rely on rangers to paint their mileposts
unless they have been adopted by a In the event that you witness antisocial
will need to local school. Please use Hammerite or behaviour such as vandalism or
motorbike use, avoid confrontation,
report it to the other domestic metallic paint, and
follow the safety instructions on the tin. and never put yourself in danger.
maintenance You may reclaim your costs from Report serious incidents to the police,
Sustrans. Sustrans or the local authority.
authority so If there is a persistent problem of
that it does get vandalism, crime or antisocial
behaviour, bring it to the attention of
dealt with. your community liaison police officer.

Reporting problems on your

If you can’t deal with a problem
yourself, you will need to report it to
the maintenance authority so that it
does get dealt with. This might
typically include fly-tipping, major
vegetation problems, the need for a
permanent sign or a temporary
obstruction such as flooding. If you are
If you have a milepost, please give it a not sure who the maintenance
coat of paint every year or two to authority is, ask your liaison ranger,
protect it from the weather and make it your regional Sustrans staff, or your
more attractive. You may need to rub volunteer support office. Use the fault
down loose rust with wire wool before report form – in the appendix of this
you start. Dark green, blue or black is handbook or downloadable from:
usually the most appropriate base www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk
colour. You can make it look even Alternatively, if you have an agreement
more eye-catching and turn it into a with the maintenance authority you
work of art by highlighting the lettering may use email or call their help-line.
in white or gold. If you want to be
more creative and use unusual colours, Identifying route
please check with the landowner or obstructions on our public
the Sustrans regional manager first. mapping
Please use Hammerite or a similar If a route is temporarily blocked or
product and reclaim your costs from diverted, or access is limited by
Sustrans. weather damage, please report this to
our mapping team at
Graffiti and antisocial GISDept@sustrans.org.uk as well as to
behaviour the maintenance authority. We may
If signs, sculptures or benches are

Ranger tasks
then attach a warning notice to the hard work, but we can guarantee that
mapping on the Sustrans website to they are exceptionally sociable days
keep the public informed. out, an opportunity to make new
friends and meet old ones, and that
If our mapping needs amending to you will get an amazing amount done!
reflect a new route development There is a real sense of achievement.
please let our mapping team know.
If you want to organise a workday
Enhancing local involving the community on your route
biodiversity: bird boxes, bat please follow the workday checklist
boxes and tree planting (see appendix) and use a combined
Many of our greenway routes are workday plan and risk assessment.
natural wildlife corridors rich in small This will help you to plan the event
mammals, birds and plant life. If you safely and in detail. Here are some
have the interest and experience, you other important points to ensure its
can help to protect and enhance the success.
natural biodiversity. Some ranger • Always run your proposal past the
groups have built and erected bird and landowner before advertising the
bat boxes, others have managed the workday. You need their agreement.
vegetation to encourage endangered • If you need more helpers, ask the
species such as glow worms, or supporter team to send out
planted local species of trees. Always invitations to local Sustrans
consult with your local authority supporters one month in advance.
biodiversity officer or local staff before Email them at:
doing anything that could introduce supporters@sustrans.org.uk
inappropriate species. • Use the template press release on
www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk to
Some ranger advertise your event through the
For more information see
local press.
groups have built Sustrans ‘Biodiversity action
• Register your event on the calendar
plan for the National Cycle
and erected bird Network’ at: www.sustrans.org.uk
on www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk
so that other rangers can join you.
and bat boxes, • Around 20 people is an optimum
others have Workdays number for a workday.
Community workdays are an excellent • Small grants are sometimes available
managed the way for Sustrans volunteer groups to from external organisations for tools
vegetation to deal with larger maintenance problems and materials, and they are easy to
on traffic-free routes, and to gain local apply for, so take advantage of
encourage publicity. You can also invite your them. Details are posted on:
community to become involved, which www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk
will help to create a sense of local • Always send your volunteer support
species such as ownership of the route. Typical tasks office a copy of your combined
undertaken with community effort workday plan and risk assessment.
glow worms, or include clearing vegetation, litter-picks, • If you are expecting more than 30
planted local cleaning up graffiti, painting mileposts people, please let your volunteer
and sculptures, tree planting and even support office know in advance to
species of trees. building benches! It may all sound like confirm insurance cover.

Ranger tasks

• Avoid bonfires, and do not clear Help Sustrans in your

vegetation from late March to August community
when birds are nesting. There are many Sustrans projects
• Invite your work colleagues working directly with people to enable
(see page 24) them to walk and cycle more, and they
• Please take some ‘before’ and ‘after’ are always looking for rangers to help
photographs and send us the best them with their activities. These could
ones. range from leading a ride or walk to
enable people to be more active, to
See appendix for: ‘Organising helping organise a bike breakfast for
a Workday – Checklist for hungry school children who have cycled
organisers’. Download to school, or supervising a ride to school.
combined workday plan and Appropriate training will be given. A CRB
risk assessment form from check may be required. If you have the
www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk time and would like to get more involved
or get one from your volunteer in our work, check www.sustrans.org.uk
support office. to find out what other Sustrans projects
there are near you.

Work with other groups Join a workcamp

These are just a few of the many Workcamps are working holidays and
groups, projects and organisations that are hands-on opportunities for you to
rangers have worked with on the contribute to the construction of a new
National Cycle Network: Duke of section of National Cycle Network.
Edinburgh Award Scheme, the Wildlife They provide a great opportunity for
Trust, BTCV, probation service, day participants to share their skills and
centres and students with special learn new ones. As well as completing
needs, canal preservation societies new routes, the participants have built
and local conservation groups. If you bridges and benches, erected fences
have the local contacts, why not work and gates, and created sculptures.
together with other groups to help to The workcamps are usually in beautiful
maintain and improve the National parts of the country, and basic
Cycle Network, and invite them to your accommodation is provided.

Ranger tasks
These annual events are supervised by Organise an exhibition
We need your Sustrans staff, and are usually run in Organise a display in your local library
week-long blocks. There is a charge to or a stall at your school, town fete or
help to tell more cover accommodation and food. county show. We can provide display
people about material, leaflets, publications and a
To request further details about collection box for donations. Please ask
Sustrans and workcamps or if you’d like to us for supplies at least four weeks in
the work we do, help establish a workcamp in advance or longer if it is a large event.
your area contact
whether it’s workcamps@sustrans.org.uk or We want to attract people from all
visit www.sustrans.org.uk walks of life to our stalls, so please
building local
wear informal dress – or an event
walking and T-shirt which we can provide – instead
4.2 Promoting Sustrans
of cycling clothes which may only
cycle networks, As a Sustrans volunteer you play a
attract experienced cyclists.
central role in helping to promote all
or our very the work we do and to tell people
successful work about Sustrans. We need more people Contact our events officer on
to know about Sustrans and the work 0117 915 0135 to request
with children... we do, whether it’s building local display materials.
walking and cycle networks, or our
very successful work with children,
quadrupling the numbers of kids
cycling to school. We want to tell
everyone about our work improving
people’s health and our environment.
We would like to share with more
people the role that Sustrans is playing
in offering people real travel choices,
as well as using all the evidence we
collect from our work to influence
governments to invest more in
improving sustainable travel options. If
people like what we do, and think our
work makes sense, they can join us as
a volunteer or supporter, and we can
do even more to change our world a
mile at a time.

There are lots of things you can do,

and this is an opportunity for you to
make the most of your personal skills
and interests. Here are some

Ranger tasks

Take some photos Give a talk

Send us your Photos play a vital role in our Give an inspiring slideshow and talk
publications and presentations, that will win support for Sustrans, to
best photos of illustrating the activities of Sustrans and your work colleagues, school,
volunteer rangers the contribution that volunteers make to community group or charitable
Sustrans. organisation. We can provide a digital
in action and slideshow with notes to make it easy.
local events like Please try to capture your activities and The show covers the history of
community events on camera. Send us Sustrans, what we do, and volunteers
rides and your photos of things you have fixed, and supporters.
signing in action, mileposts you have
painted, workdays, rides and walks – in Contact your volunteer support
fact anything that captures your office to request presentation
imagination. Be bold when taking materials.
photos, engage with your subject and
make them the star of your picture. Become your local group
Please take them at the highest publicity volunteer
resolution and send us your best Supporters are Sustrans’ lifeblood,
selection at their full size. If they are too providing public support, practical help
large to email, send them on a CD. and income. You can help us to
Photos are only useful if they have increase the number of our supporters
some information to go with them. by becoming the publicity volunteer for
Please give the location and, if possible, your Sustrans group and distributing
name the subjects in the picture and tell our leaflets and publications locally.
us who to credit for the photo. Only
send in images that you are happy to Adopt your library, local tourist
become Sustrans copyright (although information centre, community centre,
this will not prevent you using the bike shop and other outlets, and ensure
pictures yourself, of course). that they have good stocks of our
leaflets. When people return our leaflets,
If you take photos of young people who we tell them more about Sustrans,
are under 18 we should have written where they can cycle and walk locally,
approval from the parent or guardian on and also how they can support us.
a ‘child model release form’ before we
can use the photo. This form is Order supplies using the form at
downloadable from www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk
www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk or or contact your volunteer
available from your volunteer support support office.

Email your best photos to:


Ranger tasks
Lead a ride or walk Cycle Network and tell them about
Many groups organise monthly sociable Sustrans.
rides to introduce newer cyclists to
each other and to their local routes of See appendix for ride organiser
the National Cycle Network. This is an checklist. See
excellent way for less experienced www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk
cyclists to gain the confidence to cycle for event plans and risk
more regularly. Rangers have also made assessments or ask your
a unique contribution to Bike Week volunteer support office.
each year by leading short friendly rides
targeted at new or returning cyclists
and have succeeded in introducing Tell the press
many new users to the National Cycle Local media coverage can really help to
Network. Some rangers have worked boost the profile of Sustrans and
with their children’s school or Bike It to encourage more people to support us.
help lead rides to school. If you expect Are you interested in helping Sustrans
more than 30 participants, or if the ride with media work in your area? If the
is aimed at under-18s, please let your answer is yes then why not register as
ranger support office know so that they your local Sustrans group’s media
can confirm insurance cover, and volunteer? Your knowledge of your local
always do a combined event plan and area, events and other organisations
risk assessment to ensure that it passes can really help us get Sustrans into the
off safely. news. Having a local spokesperson
who is dedicated to spreading the word
But why not think laterally and lead a about Sustrans and our projects is vital.
walk for health, an owl walk, a birdsong To become a media contact, complete
ramble, or a butterfly safari – the the short form on
Network is a great place for biodiversity, www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk or
and this is a great way to introduce contact the Sustrans Press Office
people to the pleasures of the National (details below).

Ranger tasks

As a media contact you may decide Involve your workplace –

that you want to issue a press release ‘Make a Difference’
or photo call notice for a local ranger Many companies have helped to
event such as a workday. It is an improve their local section of the
excellent way to publicise local action National Cycle Network on a team-
by volunteers, and to promote the building or employee-volunteering day.
National Cycle Network. There’s a step- We are keen to work with local rangers
by-step guide on the VolunteerNet to to identify suitable tasks for companies
show you how, and template to undertake and help to make a team
documents for you to use. Or ask your day with a difference. If you know of a
volunteer support office for the media company who would like to contribute
information sheet. to the success of the National Cycle
Network, please let your volunteer
If you are going to express an opinion support office know. There is a charge
about Sustrans projects or activities to companies for this service, but it will
using your ranger title, please speak to be a worthwhile and rewarding
our press office for advice and help first, experience. For further information
on 0117 927 7555 or email: download the ‘Make a Difference’ leaflet
press@sustrans.org.uk from the Sustrans website.

Ranger tasks
4.3 Fundraising As well as raising income for Sustrans,
Encourage your these rides will raise the profile of your
Help to fundraise for route and your Sustrans volunteer
work colleagues group, and introduce more people to
to leave their car Sustrans is a charity, and we rely on cycling, Sustrans and the National
fundraising from a wide range of Cycle Network.
at home during sources to enable us to develop the
Sustrans National Cycle Network and all our Become a fundraising
other activities. The commitment of our volunteer
‘Change Your supporters who give us donations and If you like a challenge, become the
also many rangers who have raised fundraising volunteer in your Sustrans
World’ week, volunteer group and coordinate a
money locally have enabled us to work
and donate the on practical and imaginative solutions to programme of fun fundraising events.
the transport challenges affecting us all. Invite rangers and supporters to a
money they save jumble sale and advertise it locally too.
to Sustrans. Fundraising is a key activity for Organise an open cafe on your route,
Sustrans volunteers and we will be giving out publicity and offering cakes
very grateful for any fundraising events and refreshments for donations.
that you can organise. From Encourage your work colleagues to
sponsored rides to bring-and-buy leave their car at home during
sales and barbecues, you can have Sustrans ‘Change Your World’ week,
fun and raise money to help Sustrans and donate the money they save to
achieve even more. Sustrans. Plan a barbecue and ride
or walk for midsummer. And don’t
Generate ‘Fresh Air Miles’ forget to have a collecting box
for Sustrans prominently displayed whenever you
Sponsored rides are especially popular run a publicity stall.
and are a good way of getting new
cyclists to support Sustrans. Many
other charities already generate Collection boxes are available
hundreds of thousands of pounds from our supporter team
each year from sponsored rides on the on 0117 915 0115.
National Cycle Network. We would like
every Sustrans volunteer group on
traffic-free sections to organise an Download our guide to
annual fundraising event. For example, sponsored events from
Fresh Air Miles sponsored rides take www.sustrans.org.uk or ask
place around Bike Week. We will your volunteer support office for
provide posters and publicity to help more information. We’ll send
you to attract participants. Cyclists ride you a thank you certificate to
as far as they can go and then turn acknowledge any money that
around. Rangers help with publicity, you raise for Sustrans.
the organisation at the start of the ride
and the stamping stations along the
route where participants’ mileage
cards are stamped.

Working safely

Part 5 Working safely

Sustrans gives very high priority to the safety

of its volunteers and the public. By following
the guidelines set out in this section, your
ranger activities should be low risk.

5.1 Event plans and risk

for event plan and risk
Why should you do an event plan
assessment forms or request a
and risk assessment?
copy from your volunteer
These are dual-purpose documents
support office.
that help you to plan your event in detail
and identify and minimise any risks.
They allow you to consider what When do you need to complete an
potential hazards you might encounter, event plan and risk assessment?
and take action to prevent them Risk assessment forms contain
causing harm. They are for your benefit, suggestions of the kind of ‘hazards’ that
and will help if you are organising an you are likely to encounter, and what
event by acting as a checklist of things you can do to lessen the risk of harm.
to remember. We do not expect you to Many of the suggested precautions
fill in a risk assessment form every time may seem obvious, and a lot of them
you trim a bramble or put up a sign, but are common sense, but they act as
please be aware of the important reminders. You should
recommendations contained within consider what the level of risk is for
them. Do carry out a risk assessment, each hazard, and which are relevant.
and record it on the standard form, if Not all of the hazards or precautions will
you are organising an event involving be applicable to your event, and there
other people, so that you can refer to it may be additional hazards that you feel
on the day. You may also adapt the the other participants should know
workday risk assessment form to risk about. You can delete irrelevant ones,
assess your regular ranger activities on and add your own. However, remember
your own section of route. that what seems like common sense to
you may not be so to others.

Working safely
There are two combined event plans them. It is also sensible to wear stout
Your first risk and risk assessments, and examples of footwear, and clothing that covers your
completed forms, on legs and arms to prevent scratches.
assessment www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk. They If working in a public area, such as on a
•The first time are also available from your volunteer cycle route, please wear your high
support office. One is designed for visibility jacket at all times so that you
you do a risk workdays and the other is for rides and can be seen.
other events. They are designed for use
assessment you
as a ‘checklist’ before and on the day Hand tools
must check it of your event, and as a prompt to help As a ranger you should only be carrying
convey important information to the out minor maintenance works, and
with your other participants. there are a limited number of tools you
volunteer may have to use.
They should be completed well in
support office advance of your event, but you may The most commonly used tools are
before the need to update them on the day, for those you might find in your garden,
example if the weather has changed such as secateurs, loppers, brooms
event. and the ground is very wet and slippery. and shovels. You are welcome to use
your own tools, but please check that
they are in safe working order, and that
The feedback section of the
don’t forget to blades and handles are secure.
risk assessment form should
send us a copy be completed after the event
If you need to buy small hand tools, you
by the person who has overall
of your risk responsibility on the day, and
can claim the cost from Sustrans on an
expense claim form.
assessments returned to your volunteer
support office.
after each
5.2 Carrying out
practical work safely

Personal protective
equipment and sensible
There will be occasions when it is
advisable to take appropriate
precautions by wearing simple
protective clothing such as gloves and Slashers, grasshooks, mattocks and
goggles. For example, when clearing pickaxes
vegetation, brambles can cause injury if Tools that require a swinging motion
they catch you in the eye, and have higher risks, so always follow
scratches can become infected. these guidelines:
Your volunteer support office can supply • These tools must only be used by
gloves and eye protection on request or adults.
alternatively you can claim back the • Check tools to ensure that blades
costs from Sustrans if you have to buy and heads are secure.

Working safely

• Your working area must be taped off • Find out the volunteers’ emergency
Power tools and warning signs erected to ensure contact details, and whether any of
that there is no risk to the public. them are trained first-aiders.
should not be • Ensure that there is no one within 5 • Explain what tools are available, and
used without metres of you. what they are used for, as well as
• Take care, if wearing gloves, that the other important information such as
approval, tool cannot slip out of your hand. where the nearest toilet facilities are,
and who the first-aiders are, if any.
training and risk
Bow saws A table at the bottom of the page has
assessments. When using a bow saw, always wear a space to record information including
glove on the hand holding whatever names, locations, distances or other
you’re cutting because the saw can notes.
sometimes jump out of the cut. • Put up warning signs to alert the
public to your work.
Power tools
Power tools can cause very serious During the day:
injuries if something goes wrong when • Keep an eye on the volunteers to
using them. Therefore you must not use ensure that they are working safely.
them unless you have the permission of This is just as important as motivating
the maintenance authority, and the and working alongside them.
appropriate training or certification. In • Take photographs: nothing to do with
addition you must undertake a full risk risk assessments, but we need them!
assessment and have a written plan for For more guidance on taking and
the use of the tool, approved by your submitting photos to Sustrans, see
local office. page 22.

Storage of tools on site At the end of the day:

When tools are not being used, even for • Invite feedback from the volunteers.
a short break, always make sure that • Complete the form and return it to
they are stored off any public path, and your volunteer support office.
that any blades are securely covered.

For more details on safe use of

all types of hand tools, see
‘Safe use of tools’ on:

Workdays – general points

At the start of the day:
• Brief the volunteers on what you are
doing, and why.
• Run through any information that they See appendix for ‘Workday
need to know, as identified by your event plan and risk assessment
risk assessment. A column has been form’, and ‘Workday checklist’.
included for you to tick when you Use them both when organising
have done this. your workday.

Working safely
5.3 Organising rides Keep a reasonable pace and be
safely prepared to slow down if people are
unable to keep up. If on a narrow or
Number of leaders and riders busy section of route, you may need to
All rides should have at least a leader, a separate into two groups each with their
back marker, and one marshal for every own leader and backmarker. Anticipate
10 riders to keep the group together. To hazards such as poor road surfaces,
help you to plan, encourage riders to and road crossings, and manage them
register with you in advance. by posting marshals to warn riders or
assist them to cross roads.
Helmets and clothing
There is no legal requirement to wear At the end of the ride
helmets, so the decision to wear one is Ensure that everyone has returned safely
down to the individual. Children are and invite feedback from the riders.
strongly recommended to wear a
Use both the rides checklist
helmet. Encourage participants to wear
and the rides risk assessment
bright conspicuous clothing; it helps
Ranger tasks everyone be seen and it’s more fun.
when planning your ride. See
appendix for the checklist, and
should be safe Marshalls should always wear their
download the risk assessment
ranger vest.
and enjoyable form from
and we want Bike maintenance
or ask your volunteer support
Riders are responsible for their own
them to remain bicycles, which should be in a
office for a copy.

roadworthy condition: remind riders to

that way. 5.4 Out on your own
check their brakes and tyres before the
start of the ride. Ranger tasks should be safe and
enjoyable and we want them to remain
Children that way. But living in the real world, you
If there are children present, make sure may from time to time witness antisocial
that they are supervised by a parent or behaviour, or cycle through areas that
guardian. (See page 7, Young people.) you do not feel comfortable in alone.
Here are some simple common-sense
At the start of the ride precautions that most of us take in our
Gather the participants together and daily life that you can extend to your
run through any information they need volunteer role.
to know, as identified by your risk • Tell someone when you go out by
assessment. A column has been yourself to monitor your route. Let
included for you to tick when you have them know where you are going and
done this. Make sure that you have the when you expect to be back.
riders’ emergency contact details. • Carry a mobile phone in case you
need to call home.
During the ride • If you witness antisocial behaviour, do
Lead the way and stay at the front. not get personally involved in a ranger
Check that you can see your capacity. Remember what you have
backmarker or stop regularly to allow witnessed, and, when you feel safe,
the riders to bunch up and to rest. report it to the police.

Working safely

• Carry a simple puncture repair kit or make sure that they are covered, e.g.
spare inner tube so that if you have a with a plaster, but it is best to avoid
puncture several miles from home contact with canal or river water
you can repair it. altogether. If you are exposed to risk,
If your route is
• If you feel uncomfortable cycling rinse your hands well with clean
alongside water, through an isolated section of your water. If you have influenza-like
route, pair up with another ranger symptoms after working in the canal,
you must take when you monitor your route, or ask consult your doctor, and explain that
some additional your liaison ranger or volunteer you have been working in an
support office for a different section of environment where leptospyrosis is a
precautions. route. possibility.
A simple blood test will give
5.5 Working alongside confirmation and enable the correct
water treatment.
Several hundred Sustrans rangers are • If you plan a workday alongside
lucky enough to have sections of route water, always consult first with the
alongside canal or river towpaths. river authority or your regional British
Waterside routes are beautiful and Waterways office. You may need their
should not present any serious risks agreement to proceed. They are keen
providing you observe some basic and to encourage volunteers and they
common-sense rules. may wish to complete a risk
• Never put yourself at risk of falling into assessment with you, and attend
the water. If the path is icy or slippery your event. They may also be able to
due to mud, keep well away from the loan tools and safety equipment.
water’s edge and consider walking • When organising a workday by a
rather than cycling. river or canal, you must ensure that
• Never cycle at speed alongside water, personal protective and rescue
as an unexpected pothole or collision equipment is immediately available,
with walkers or dogs can result in a as required by British Waterways or
serious accident. the river authority, such as lifejackets
• Weil’s disease (leptospyrosis) is and a throw rope. It may be
carried by rats and spread through appropriate to wear lifejackets if
their urine. It frequently contaminates working within one metre of the
canals and rivers as well as the river water’s edge. The canal or river
and canal banks. Humans can catch authority will often be willing to loan
the disease by contaminated water this equipment, and train you to
getting into cuts or skin abrasions. If use it.
you have skin abrasions, always

Part 6 Appendix

Workday Checklist
To ensure the success of your workday we recommend that you check that you have covered the following points.
Add a  in the boxes on the right when complete.

Before the workday 

• Identify your task and ask permission from the landowner or maintenance authority.
• Familiarise yourself with what needs doing and how many volunteers you need. (Avoid vegetation
clearance from mid March to August when birds are nesting.)
• Make a plan, do a risk assessment, and take a ‘before’ photo.

• Register your workday on the VolunteerNet calendar.

• Contact Supporters team to invite Sustrans supporters (give 4 weeks’ notice).
• Use press release template on VolunteerNet for local publicity.
• Create an information sheet for participants, telling them what to bring and wear, what they will do, where
and when.
• Try to borrow tools locally if possible, from the maintenance authority, local groups, e.g. BTCV, or ask
people to bring their own.
• Provide simple refreshments for volunteers, and claim back expenses.
On the day
• Review event plan/risk assessment in case conditions have changed.
• Register helpers and take their emergency contact details.
• If children are present, check that they are fully supervised.
• Give a welcome talk using event plan and risk assessment
• explain and delegate tasks
• identify any risks, (e.g. water, steep slopes, broken glass) and explain precautions
• identify first-aider if present
• check tools are safe, remind people how to use them safely and not to leave them on open paths
• tell people when there will be breaks and where toilets are.
• Remember to build in rest breaks.
• Spend your time supervising rather than doing practical work, to ensure that everyone is working happily
and as safely as possible.
• Take ‘after’ photos.
• Clear up at the end. If you have borrowed tools, please ensure that they have all been returned (clean!).
• Thank everyone, and invite feedback from volunteers. Perhaps send a thank-you letter to the volunteers.
• Send a copy of the completed event plan/risk assessment to us. Let us know of any accident that
required treatment, or use of first-aid kit.
• Claim your expenses.
• Let us know how it went! Reports and photos are particularly welcome.


Rides Checklist
Add a  in the boxes on the right when complete.

Before the ride 

• Cycle the proposed route. Be realistic about distance.
• Do an event plan/risk assessment and look for particular places which might cause problems such as
busy junctions.
• Estimate how long you will need to do the ride. Be realistic! The average group ride moves at 6 mph.
Riders will need regular stops, and you will need to wait for stragglers to catch up.
• Consider what information needs to be given to riders before the ride, e.g. the length and difficulty of the
ride, what to wear and whether to bring lights, food and water.
• Identify how many marshals you will need and what they will need to do. Brief marshals in advance.
The day before
• If possible, ride the route again, to review the event plan/risk assessment – there may be new roadworks
or mud.
• Check the weather forecast.

On the day
• In the event of extreme weather consider cancellation.
• Bring first-aid kit, repair kits, registration forms, risk assessment, maps, spare water.

• Check that leader, backstop and marshals are all wearing high visibility jackets, and exchange mobile
phone numbers.

• Gather the participants together at the start. Record their emergency contact details, and whether any of
them are trained first-aiders.
• Identify first-aiders, leader, backstop and marshals.
• Run through the timetable for the ride and any other information that participants need to know, as
identified by your risk assessment form.
• Ensure that any children are supervised by their parents or guardians.
• Encourage riders to check their own bikes before riding, and allow time for pumping up tyres etc.
During the ride
• Follow the event plan/risk assessment recommendations for cycling as a group, e.g. always have a
leader and a backstop.
• Keep an eye on the riders, and make sure that no one over-exerts themselves. Stop regularly and ensure
that no one has dropped off the back.
• Make sure everyone has returned safely.
• Invite feedback.
• Let us know how it went! Reports and photos are particularly welcome.


Sign Order Form
Please photocopy

Return to: Signs, Cycle Network Centre, 2 Cathedral Square, College Green, Bristol BS1 5DD
Tel: 0117 915 0238 Fax: 0117 9150225 signs@sustrans.org.uk

Code Quantity Welsh language: Many of these signs are

available bilingually. See separate insert.
Route Signs
RC* Note: Signs marked with * all need route
SC* number or ‘This way to’ stickers.
SS* Route number stickers
SD* National Route (NR) red/white
Regional route (RR) blue/white
SAD Route No. NR/RR Quantity
Route signs for occasional use
RU* Name:
Ranger number:
Delivery address:

NCN Defect Report

To report any problem beyond the means of the
Sustrans volunteer ranger
Please send or email this form to the local authority or the responsible party,
and please send a copy to your Sustrans regional manager.

Report to Route no:

Organisation Report no:

Copy to Date:
Location of problem


Map enclosed
Nature of defect Tick in grey box to the left
Grid ref. (if known)
1 Path impassable
Safety issue: Yes No
2 Signing

3 Vegetation Priority
4 Boundaries High
5 Drainage
6 Encroachment
7 Vandalism

8 Surface

Photo attached

Description of problem(s)

Action already taken Suggested action required

For use by receiving body

I acknowledge receipt of your report no. Dated:
This matter is currently receiving attention
has been actioned
has been passed on to (please state):
Ranger expense claim form
Use this form to claim your reasonable and necessary expenses. Complete boxes 1 and 2 and return to your
volunteer support office or send directly to the volunteer team at the address below.

Always attach receipts:

1 Date Description Amount


2 Volunteer name



3 Approved by

Budget code

Return to: Sustrans, Volunteer Team, 2 Cathedral Square, Bristol, BS1 5DD


Contacts and resources

Help to promote an event in the media:
Sustrans press office: press@sustrans.org.uk / 0117 927 7555

Sign order line: signs@sustrans.org.uk / 0117 915 0238

Supporter recruitment leaflets: request from your volunteer support office

Display material: events@sustrans.org.uk / 0117 915 0135

Collection boxes: supporters@sustrans.org.uk / 0117 915 0115

General information about Sustrans:

Sustrans information line: info@sustrans.org.uk / 0845 113 0065

Mapping amendments: GISDept@sustrans.org.uk

Give a talk
CDs available from your volunteer support office

For further advice contact your nearest volunteer support office below:
South of England: 01179 150 129 / volunteers-south@sustrans.org.uk
North of England: 0161 923 6050 / volunteers-north@sustrans.org.uk
Scotland: 0131 539 8122 / volunteers-scotland@sustrans.org.uk
Wales: 029 2065 0602 / volunteers-cymru@sustrans.org.uk
Northern Ireland: 028 9043 4569 / volunteers-ni@sustrans.org.uk
London, East Anglia and Kent: 0207 017 2356 / volunteers-london@sustrans.org.uk

Or visit: www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk

Information sheets and forms available on request from your volunteer support office:
Sustrans young people and vulnerable adults protection guidance
Sustrans criminal records disclosure policy
Event notification form – to confirm insurance cover
Event sponsorship form and guidance notes
Child photo release form
Parental/guardian permission form for events where young people will be present
Supporter leaflet order form
Most of the above are also downloadable from: www.sustransvolunteers.org.uk

Sustrans in your community
Sustrans is best known for the National Cycle Network, but there are now many more reasons to support us.
We hope that you will tell everyone why they should support our work and enable us to do even more.

TravelSmart gives individual households the Connect2 delivering low-carbon active travel to
information they need to walk, cycle or use public millions
transport more • Sustrans Connect2 will revitalise walking and cycling
• Sustrans TravelSmart project has achieved a 9% to in 79 communities across the UK by creating new
14% reduction in the number of car trips by networks of walking and cycling routes for the local
promoting walking, cycling and public transport for journeys that we all make every day. Crossings and
around 150,000 people in many locations across the bridges will be created over busy roads, railway lines
UK. and rivers, linking into new networks of local paths to
Bike It gets more children cycling get people to where they want to go by foot or bike.

• Sustrans Bike It officers work in hundreds of schools The National Cycle Network is for everyone
and achieve increases in the number of children • Sustrans has coordinated the development of the
cycling to school by inspiring children, parents and National Cycle Network. This is more than 12,000
teachers with a mix of bike skills training, cycle rides, miles of cycling and walking routes. Almost one third
bike maintenance sessions and events such as bike of the routes are traffic-free, a perfect place for
to school breakfasts. children to explore, new cyclists to gain confidence,
Active Travel encourages healthy travel and walkers to enjoy peace and quiet. And it’s all
free to use!
• Sustrans works with people within communities to
• 55% of the population live within one mile of the
enable them to walk and cycle and increase their
levels of everyday physical activity.
• 354 million journeys were made on the Network
Safe Routes to Schools help kids get to school during 2007 and around half of these were on foot,
under their own steam enabling people to make local journeys in a
• Sustrans school travel team provides a free sustainable way.
information service to support schools and their • Children made 54 million trips to school on the
communities through training, publications, their Network.
website and an enquiries hotline. Their aim is to • One third of users of the NCN are women.
enable all children to have a safe, healthy and Volunteer rangers help keep the NCN in good
sustainable school journey. condition
Liveable Neighbourhoods puts people at the • 2,500 volunteer rangers in more than 200 groups
heart of their community help Sustrans and our partners to look after and
• Sustrans Liveable Neighbourhoods implements promote the National Cycle Network. Rangers help
practical projects that combine urban design, to look after signing of routes, clear litter, cut back
community involvement and sustainable transport vegetation and encourage more people to cycle and
planning. The team works with communities to walk by leading rides and walks and organising
create ‘DIY streets’ which help residents to redesign publicity events.
their streets to put people rather than cars at their Sustrans also works hard to help governments
heart. develop sustainable and active travel policies to
Art and the Travelling Landscape makes public enable more people to travel in ways that benefit
space more inspiring their health and the environment
• The National Cycle Network is the biggest sculpture • Sustrans works with policy makers and other
trail in the country and helps create an environment organisations to ensure that our work to deliver
that encourages walking and cycling. Ranging from low-carbon, active travel is widely recognised and
benches to drinking fountains, bridges to sculptures, embedded in policy related to environment,
the artworks provide inspiration and enjoyment or transport, planning, education, health and the
just a place to stop and rest! economy throughout the UK.
More information on all these projects and where they are based is available at: www.sustrans.org.uk
A guaranteed seat every day.