“Rangers are often modest people who just get on and do their job, and don’t ask for any recognition,” admits National Trust ranger Lucy Holmes.
“Our work is often highlighted, but people don’t always see the people behind that work, so we’re celebrating the individuals who protect our landscape.”
On July 31, Lucy and a dozen of her colleagues will be demonstrating the work of the modern countryside ranger at a celebration of World Ranger Day at Longshaw.
The free event will include the chance to plant small wildflower ‘plugs’ in a hay meadow, have a go at dry stone walling, or try carrying a water-filled backpack used to put out moorland fires.
There’ll also be talks about the work of a modern ranger, advice for younger people planning a job in the field, and information on World Ranger Day’s initiatives to help rangers putting their lives at risk around the world.
Lucy said the public often don’t realise the range of jobs carried out by the 27 National Trust and Eastern Moors staff rangers and eight national park rangers working in the Peak District.
There are practical jobs like repairing walls and footpaths, planting trees and hammering in fence posts, along with more glamorous tasks like carrying out scientific surveys of birds, snakes and dragonflies, or helping visitors and school groups learn about their local countryside.
One of Lucy’s jobs is to help disabled people and young people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to explore the countryside.
“Some groups who come out here have never seen a sheep or a dry stone wall, or been to an area where there aren’t any buildings,” she said.
“It makes you see the landscape through different eyes, and refreshes your appreciation for the beauty of where you work.”
The rangers in the Peak District are supported by nearly 200 volunteer rangers who help with everything from wall building and digging to botanical surveys.
“It is a vocation for us, and I can get very emotional if I find someone has vandalised some trees we’ve planted,” added Lucy. “But you can get a really special feeling of the value of the job when years of hard work by a ranger gets a species of bird back to a habitat where they should be living.”