February: Rivers and Rangers

Clive, Fishing Bailiff and Ranger Volunteer

Clive Pitts - Clive, Fishing Bailiff and Ranger Volunteer

Clive has volunteered with the Attingham Ranger team for over 5 years. An experienced fisherman, he loves to be outdoors and has turned his passion into a role as a Fishing Bailiff. Discover how he is helping to conserve Attingham’s beautiful environment.

A view of the river Tern with water reflections of the Park

What does your role at Attingham involve?

As part of the Attingham Park Ranger Team, the role is very versatile and includes a range of duties. Looking after the estate largely involves general maintenance. This includes cutting trees to keep the woodland healthy, or more routine jobs such as emptying bins and repairing fences, all part of maintaining Attingham’s natural beauty. The estate is home to a wild herd of fallow deer, but we keep an eye on them to check their health and manage the population. They are descended from the original breed that were here in the early days of the Berwick family at Attingham (1800s).

The fallow deer herd at Attingham Park
Attingham's deer herd are descended from the orginal herd brought to Attingham by the second Lord Berwick in the 1700s
The fallow deer herd at Attingham Park

During the fishing season, my Ranger duties extend to being a Fishing Bailiff. A keen fisherman myself, I enjoy strolling along the banks of the Severn and the Tern. The purpose of this role is to check the condition of the river, to ensure there are no pollution incidents or distressed wildlife, whilst making sure those fishing on the river are licenced and fishing responsibly. We want fishing at Attingham to be safe and sustainable. On my outings I have spotted fish such as barble and chubb, roach and pike in the waters of the Severn. I often see birds too, such as herons, swans, mallards and even kingfishers. Sandmartins nest in the river banks during times of low river flow.

How does what you do help Attingham's wildlife?

As a Fishing Bailiff I keep an eye on the rivers so if any problems arise they can be reported and dealt with immediately. Checking for fishing licences ensures that our rivers are used correctly and can be maintained to a high standard. 

Woodland management is essential to keep trees and the ecosystems associated with them healthy. We have veteran trees on the Estate such as the Repton Oak, which stands around 650 years old! These trees support a community of ‘deadwood’ invertebrates which eat decaying wood, such as the Black Headed Cardinal beetle. Partly due to this, Attingham was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in March 2000. I remember a time when a tree had fallen over, but inside the tree was a huge bees’ nest! Our beekeepers managed to save the bees and give them a new hive on the estate. 

The 'Repton Oak' at Attingham
The 'Repton Oak' at Attingham
The 'Repton Oak' at Attingham

What is the best part of your role?

The variety. No two days are the same. I always wanted to work outdoors and now I do! What could be more pleasant than a walk along the river banks on a sunny day? Or feeding the beautiful herd of fallow deer? We are planting tree saplings now and watching them grow to become mature trees, and hopefully they will become veteran trees in hundreds of years’ time…