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Logo: Pensthorpe Natural ParkOperations Director

Full time, Permanent

Market competitive package, dependent on experience


Pensthorpe Natural Park, in North Norfolk, was created by a visionary conservationist who landscaped an area of gravel extraction in the River Wensum Valley to create one of Britain’s most biodiverse nature reserves.


Purchased by Bill Jordan, who co-founded Jordans Cereals, and his wife Deb in 2003, the site is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. 


Having hosted BBC Springwatch from 2008 to 2010, we showcased our beautiful park, gardens, farm and reserve to a national audience and we have continued to develop, adding extensive wildlife themed children’s outdoor and indoor play in 2013 and 2015, complimentary to the overall vision of weaving play into education about the natural world, and encouraging our children to experience nature first hand, winning both local and national awards along the way.  


The Pensthorpe Estate is also the home of the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust, a charitable trust whose main aims are to establish a centre of excellence for habitat management and restoration alongside conservation of wetland and farmland bird species through captive breeding programmes in national conservation partnerships.


Our vision for conservation, experiential nature and wellbeing combined with our strong emphasis on customer experience and ensuring an inspiring and educational connection with nature is at the heart of everything we do, appealing to all ages.


We are looking to recruit an Operations Director to continue our exciting journey. 


You will be responsible for leading the operation which covers over 700 acres of farmland and prime wetland habitat in the Wensum Valley in North Norfolk, encompassing leadership of the Reserve, Aviculture and Garden teams as well as the commercial hub of the business, which includes our busy admissions desk, café, shop and children’s indoor and outdoor play.


The successful candidate with be a confident and experienced business leader able to inspire a team and work strategically with the owners to continue to develop this unique site, You should have exceptional communication and inter-personal skills along with a strong commitment to our vision, to continue our journey in bringing nature to every generation as well as protecting our assets. Ideally with an established career in countryside / land management you will have a broad base of business skills to enable you to lead a diverse team.


Your key responsibilities will be:


  1. Strategy, organisational development and business planning;
  2. Site wide management of risk, and governance of day to day operations taking responsibility for the processes and mechanisms that serve the business;
  3. Financial Management – Oversight of budgeting and management of capital expenditure;
  4. Public Relations and Community Engagement – Acting as Company spokesperson and ensuring effective liaison and interaction with community groups, councils, parish councils and working with the local tourism and attraction bodies to ensure the business is well represented and has a voice;
  5. Site Management  - Managing the whole Pensthorpe offering, ensuring high standards, competitor observation, pricing and promotional strategies to maximise visitor footfall;
  6. Park Management – Ensure the development and maintenance of the Reserve, Gardens and Avicultural resources; Ensure the delivery of the rolling 5-year Estate Management Plan, effective animal husbandry of captive and natural species, facilitate the full engagement of Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and to ensure the continuous development and horticultural maintenance of the sites multiple award-winning gardens;
  7. Commercial Hub Management – Through a dedicated team, oversee the admissions desk, shop, café and children’s play, constantly evaluating collective and individual departmental performance, identifying new income streams and opportunities;
  8. Third Party Income Stream Management - Engagement of third party users to maximise the use of both land and premises, on both long and short term basis;
  9. People Management - Through the HR Manager, ensure the effective engagement and management of our people resources, setting standards and providing both support and challenge to line managers to deliver excellence, making Pensthorpe a great place to work;
  10. Project Management - Oversee the delivery of all project activity on site, acting as project manager on larger projects and mentor for direct reports on smaller projects; Ensure effective delivery - right first time, on time, to cost and to the desired standards; Remain vigilant for potential grant and funding opportunities, such as the Heritage Lottery Fund, and oversee the detailed and timely applications processes;
  11. Overall accountability for site Health, Safety and Security;
  12. Line management – responsible for the coaching, support and development of 8 direct reports (Heads of Departments – Finance, Marketing, HR, Commercial Hub, Reserve, Aviculture, Gardens, Maintenance).


For a full job description and / or an informal discussion about this exciting role, please contact Julie Rainford at julie.rainford@pensthorpe.com or on 07725 055598


Closing date Friday 12th October


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