A year as an Attingham Ranger

Volunteer standing at the bottom the the bricklined bowl of an icehouse

Attingham has the pleasure of being able to accommodate placement students as temporary Rangers. This month, hear from one of those students, Jacques, as he talks about his time here.

There are so many aspects to a Ranger’s role at Attingham that it is difficult to know where to start, and it is easy to say that there is never a dull day on the estate! From maintenance work such as fencing, to deer management and forestry, the Rangers do it all and provide placement students like myself with an incredibly enriching experience in a wide range of fields.

Sprucing up the car park by digging in some new disabled bay parkings signs
Staff and volunteers installing new disabled pay parking signs in the car park
Sprucing up the car park by digging in some new disabled bay parkings signs

From the first day I stepped in the woodshed and stared at all the machinery like a child in a toy shop, I knew this year would be one to remember. Under the expert hands of Colin, Gareth and all the volunteers, I’ve been taught how to drive tractors, use forestry machinery and all sorts of tools but also most importantly how to make cups of tea for a large team of thirsty workers! 

Ranger Jacques inspects the woodchip as it enters the hopper
Ranger Jacques inspecting the woodchip coming out the back of a large trailer pulled by a tractor
Ranger Jacques inspects the woodchip as it enters the hopper

An essential part of the work the Ranger team do is supplying woodchip for Attingham's biomass boiler to keep everyone warm: a major part of our work and a thrilling process. Following its journey, from felling a tree to extracting it from the forest, allowing it to dry enough before it is chipped and stored again, and finally delivering in a huge trailer gives a sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Thanks to our tractor and forwarder, removing timber from the forest is (almost) a doddle!
Tractor and timber crane in the snowy Attingham deer park
Thanks to our tractor and forwarder, removing timber from the forest is (almost) a doddle!

I would find it very hard to determine what part of our work I prefer but I have certainly enjoyed discovering a new aspect of working with trees which is tree safety management. Working with trees on an individual point of view and analysing their health based on form and potential fungal development has enlarged my knowledge of forestry and I feel very lucky to be surrounded by experts in the field and see Attingham’s incredible wealth of veteran trees everyday. 

Chicken of the woods fungi at Attingham Park
A photo of chicken of the woods fungi at Attingham Park
Chicken of the woods fungi at Attingham Park