Meet lead ranger Simon Hiley at Quarry Bank Mill

A day in the life of our lead ranger, Simon Hiley.

I started here in June 2010, coming from another National Trust property where I had worked for nearly 30 years. Looking after an Estate with varied interests and user groups is an interesting challenge.

If I am on my Key Representative duties my day usually starts around 7:30am unlocking the Village car park, Apprentice lane and the main gates. If I'm not, my day still starts at 7:30am, I just miss out the unlocking bit.

Then it’s off to the Estate Office to begin the day’s activities. Usually ( with coffee in hand) we discuss what’s needed for the day, who’s going to do what, what tools and equipment are required etc. I then fire up the laptop and deal with anything that's come in to the inbox and anything I need to let others know about.

There are many meetings to attend both on site and off:  the range of organisations we share our knowledge with, and with whom we aim to work in partnership is growing by the month. For example -  in one month alone I met with the Friends of the Carrs, Transition Wilmslow, Styal Village Association, Styal Parish Council and the RSPB. It's vital we share share information and work in partnership with others so that all benefit from the exchange of knowledge.

During the day the radio keeps messages streaming back and forth: occasionally there’s a call either for assistance with something or a need for me to be somewhere at short notice. Working as part of a larger team across the property is great as I get to be involved with other people's projects, assisting where I can,in the knowledge that that will be reciprocated if needed.

Usually, but not always, I'm accompanied by Basso, my faithful Spaniel, who keeps me on my toes and makes sure I get my daily exercise, rain or shine! He's a great engagement tool, especially with the children who love to play with his floppy ears. He loves it too!

My day usually finishes as it began if I have overnight duties: locking up the car parks and other areas, hoping that the various alarms behave themselves and I don’t have to get out of bed at 3:30am to attend a call.

Styal is a great place to live and work and it brings a lot of satisfaction to see improvements being made and the place being enjoyed by visitors.  As the National Trust’s ideas develop and evolve around the site, it’s great to play a part in that and help shape the future of Styal for the coming generations.