An Interview with our Area Ranger

Leo and Buddy

Our wonderful Area Ranger Leo covers a large area of land, including Basildon Park, Greys Court, Nuffield Place, and the Goring Gap sites. Read on to find out more about the work he does and the bookable walks he will be hosting, which focus on tree identification, bluebell conservation and dog walking on National Trust sites.

So Leo, what is an average week in the life of a ranger?

'Rangering is a multi faceted and varied role, and a typical week comprises duties as varied as writing management plans and applying for grants, through to maintaining machinery and carrying out woodland management. We lead volunteers, supervise contracts and deliver much of the work ourselves.'

That is very varied! What would you say is the highlight of your job?

'The variety is part of the enjoyment but if I had to pick one element I particularly enjoy conducting forestry operations. There is something rewarding about felling large, challenging trees, extracting the timber to use, then admiring the new glade fill with flowers and butterflies in spring.'

The land must change so much throughout the seasons - what is your favourite time of the year for a walk around Basildon Park?

'Basildon Park boasts no fewer than 15 native trees and shrubs and countless other exotics and conifers. The sheer variety of shapes, sizes and colours combine to create a breathtaking sight in autumn. The sunset over the park in November is worth capturing.'

Autumn light in November at Basildon Park
Basildon Sunset Tree
Autumn light in November at Basildon Park

Can you describe what your guided estate walks at Basildon Park will include?

Winter Tree Walks:

'This walk is about learning simple ways to tell trees apart without the helping hand of the leaves. Attendees can also find out folklore and uses of the different timbers we encounter.'

Dog Walks:

 'We warmly welcome well behaved dogs on much of our NT land. This walk offers tips for ensuring your dog doesn't cause any distress to other visitors, livestock or wildlife.'

A family walking their dog
A family walking their dog
A family walking their dog

Bluebell walks:

 'This springtime display is unique to ancient woodland in the UK. Find out the difference between the British and Spanish bluebell and how we manage our woodlands to ensure this annual display looks its best year on year.'

To join a guided walk with Leo and to learn more how we manage our woodlands, book a ticket for £3 online below.


Upcoming events

Illuminated Woodland Walk

Wed 13 Nov 2019
Stroll through a canopy of thousands of fairy lights on our woodland walk to the mansion.

Wild play trail at Basildon Park

Wed 13 Nov 2019
The Wild Play Trail takes in some of the best views of the parkland, while engaging the little ones with the nature that surrounds them.

Exhibition: Basildon Park en vogue

Wed 13 Nov 2019
Basildon Park comes to life with the style and glamour of its last owners, with select pieces on display from the Fashion and Textile Museum.

At Home with Art - Treasures of the Ford Collection

Wed 13 Nov 2019
A new exhibition of inspiring artworks in the South Pavilion.

Talk: Coromandel screen restoration

Wed 13 Nov 2019
Find out more about the restoration of the Coromandel screen as we move it to a new location in the house.

Friday walks at Basildon Park

Fri 15 Nov 2019
Find out more about the parkland that surrounds Basildon Park mansion from our knowledgaeable team of volunteers and rangers as they take you on a guided walk of the park.