Countryside rangers or wardens look after and maintain areas of the countryside such as woods, common land and national parks. They make sure the environment and its flora and fauna are protected, and that access is controlled and safe for public use.
The work varies depending on the type of area, but typically includes:
Some rangers/wardens specialise in a specific area such as habitat management, fieldwork or education, or in a certain type of habitat like waterways, coasts or moorlands.
Wardens and rangers usually work 37.5 hours a week, which may involve nights and weekends. Part-time and seasonal work are common.
Much of the work is outside in all weathers, involving walking long distances and/or the use of four-wheel drive vehicles and boats. Moving heavy equipment and climbing in difficult terrain may be required. Some time may be spent indoors in visitors’ centres.
Protective clothing or a uniform is usually worn.
A driving licence is essential.
To be a countryside ranger or warden you should:
Most countryside rangers and wardens work in the public sector - the main employers are local authorities' countryside, leisure or recreation departments. The Forestry Commission also employs about 300 wildlife rangers. Voluntary sector organisations such as the National Trust, RSPB, local wildlife trusts and private landowners, employ small numbers of site managers and wardens. However, many of these are part-time, temporary or unpaid. Full-time paid posts are rare with most voluntary organisations .
The statutory bodies have a career structure leading up through senior grades to area, chief and district ranger or head warden. Most voluntary sector organisations offer less structured career prospects. It may be necessary to move to gain experience and promotion.
Rangers and wardens can become countryside or conservation officers. To do so, they may need further qualifications such as an advanced diploma or masters degree in conservation, ecology, or countryside management.
If you would like to know more about becoming a countryside warden, further information can be found below.
British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
163 Balby Road
Tel: 01302 572 244
Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland
159 Ravenhill Road
Tel: 028 9064 5169
The Wildlife Trusts
Tel: 0845 707 8007
City and Guilds
Tel: 020 7294 2600
Tel: 0870 240 9800