Name: Samantha Kerr
Location: Based in North East Hampshire covering a range of sites including Fleet Pond (SSSI)
Employer: Hart District Council (local authority)
The job of a Countryside Ranger is a varied one, we look after a range of green spaces including SSSIs (Site of Special Scientific Interest), SINCs (Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation) and SANGs (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces). A Ranger’s focus is to ensure these green spaces are the best they can be for both nature and the public.
An overview of tasks can include:
Majority of time is spent doing:
It’s hard to summarise, but the majority of my work is focus outside doing practical tasks whether is a planned habitat management task, working with volunteers, repairs as and when needed. There is an element of indoor-based admin work which is focused on responding to e-mails and planning/organising the practical tasks so they can run smoothly.
Time is spent mainly outdoors
Is there any seasonal variation:
Yes. Between September and February is the winter work programme, this sits outside the nesting bird season so a larger proportion of our work is completing the larger-scale management tasks such as scrub clearing on heathlands and marshes, glade and ride creation in the woodlands, reed cutting and removing on reedbeds. It’s a very busy but very rewarding season.
From March to September, our focus is shifted to grassland management such as strimming path edges and hay meadow management, survey and monitoring work, structure survey and repairs and guided walks/events.
Generally, a relevant degree or diploma is required. My degree background is Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology (not regularly used in my day job!) though a Countryside Management qualification from an agricultural college would be a great start.
Being able to show commitment and passion for the career does help, having a history of volunteering whether helping out with a weekly or monthly local group or a longer-term traineeship.
Not all are required to start a job in this sector and this is not a complete list. The options of courses are vast depending on the sites you work on and your interests.
Advice to anyone looking at similar roles:
It can be challenging to get the job you want in this sector; I’d say to make sure you get yourself out there. Join the volunteering group at your local nature reserve, consider a traineeship with a charity such as Wildlife Trust, RSPB etc, absorb as much information as you can and make yourself known to people already in the sector. A lot of people would say it’s not what you know but who you know!
If you have any queries about this role or would like to ask a question of the job holder please contact Sam on email@example.com