Meet the Ranger - Elle Parsons

Lizard Ranger Elle Parsons driving a roller © Rachel Holder/NT

Lizard Ranger Elle Parsons driving a roller

Elle Parsons
Lizard Ranger
The Lizard, Cornwall

Ranger Elle Parsons cares for a wide range of sites on the Lizard, maintaining habitats and even looking after our Shetland ponies. Here she tells us all about her work and the area she cares for.

How many years have you been in this role?

Two and a half years in my current role, five years with the Trust in total.

Can you sum up in under 100 words what your job involves?

I look after our sites on the north and west sides of the Lizard for conservation. This includes lowland heath, semi-natural grassland and woodland, as well as beaches and a harbour. Through working with volunteers, communities, tenants, neighbours and contractors I maintain these areas for wildlife and for people to enjoy. This is particularly important on some of these sites as they support many rare species, particularly plants, some of which don’t occur anywhere else in the world.

I also look after the herds of Shetland ponies that we use for conservation grazing across the Lizard.

Which area do you cover and what do you think is really special about it?

The creek-side woodlands along the Helford River are so magically peaceful and beautiful, a real haven for wildlife and estuarine birds and some of the most incredible trees I’ve seen; it never fails to inspire me.

The wild and rugged west coast is quite the opposite and the view out over Ogo Dour is one that will never cease to impress me no matter how many times I see it.

Why did you want to become a ranger?

Ever since I began volunteering with the Trust on the Lizard I didn’t want to leave. It’s a place that’s been very close to my heart since I was a child and working with the ranger team here has definitely inspired me to pursue this career.

How did you get into the role? What did you do before?

I had a mixture of jobs growing up from making pasties at 13 years of age to dressing up as a Victorian farm lad every day and working with heavy horses at a living history centre.

After studying Environmental Biology I knew I wanted to work in conservation but wasn’t sure how or where. Then I bumped into my now colleague working on the coastal path. It was only because we had the same breed of dog that we started talking and before I knew it he had convinced me to come and join their full-time volunteer team. Well, that was five years ago; I never left. I was fortunate in my year as a volunteer to receive a lot of training and was then appointed as Assistant Warden for a year before landing my current role as a Ranger for north Lizard.

What's the best thing about being a ranger?

Getting paid to work in some of the most beautiful places in the world.

What's the worst thing about being a ranger?

Having to wear wellies every day.

What are your future aspirations?

I hope to continue working for the Trust as a Ranger but would like to specialise in a farming and wildlife advisory role. Either that or go into horse logging (extracting timber using heavy horses).