May 2018 - caring for our sites

Area ranger for the Brecon Beacons National Trust stimming near a picnic bench, one of many maintenance tasks carried out to keep our places special

A ranger's role is a diverse one with everyone playing their part within the team. Area ranger Simon talks about some of the many jobs he carries out to ensure the land we look after remains accessible for future generations to enjoy...

Working together

Although each of us within the Brecon Beacons and Monmouthshire ranger team generally head off each day to carry out different tasks in different places, sometimes you’ll find us working together on bigger projects, using our experience and expertise to get the job done.

The most recently big project was assisting the upland access team to transport 200 tonnes of scalpings to the footpaths leading to Corn Du and Pen y Fan in the central Brecon Beacons. The stone scalpings help to combat erosion by providing a hard wearing surface for walkers to use, making it comfortable underfoot and therefore more enjoyable.

Collecting stone to transport for footpath maintenance in the central Brecon Beacons
Pick up point during an airlift in the central Brecon Beacons, Wales to transport stone for footpath maintenance
Collecting stone to transport for footpath maintenance in the central Brecon Beacons

Time for some repairs

Keeping places safe for people to enjoy is another big part of what we do. This boardwalk forms part of a lovely walk around some of the wetland meadows at Lanlay, a site we look after at Peterstone-super-Ely near Cardiff. Time takes its toll on the timber so repairs are becoming more frequent.

Boardwalk repairs at Lanlay
Repairs being carried out to a boardwalk along a walk through wetlands at Lanlay, Peterston-suger-Ely near Cardiff, Wales
Boardwalk repairs at Lanlay

Controlling invasive species

Managing invasive species at this time of year takes up quite a lot of time including keeping on top of the fairly localised spread of skunk cabbage around the rural car park at Clytha near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire. Although this is a nice plant to look at when it flowers, if left alone it will spread and take over the area. We also work alongside similar organisations to the National Trust, such as Natural Resources Wales and the Wye and Usk Foundation to keep on top of the spread of giant hogweed along the banks of the river Usk near Clytha. The sap from this plant can cause severe blistering if you get it on your skin.

Giant hogweed, an invasive species kept under control along the river Usk
Giant hogweed growing on the banks of the river Usk near Clytha, Monmouthshire
Giant hogweed, an invasive species kept under control along the river Usk

A special place to work

Being able to work and look after places like these, making sure our visitors have an experience to remember for the right reasons, whilst enjoying the surrounding wildlife and countryside, is something truly special.

Enjoy a picturesque walk along the river Usk near Clytha
A view of the river Usk near Clytha Estate in Monmouthshire
Enjoy a picturesque walk along the river Usk near Clytha
Wild flowers in bloom at Clytha
Wild flowers growing alongside the road to the National Trust car park at Clytha, Monmouthshire
Wild flowers in bloom at Clytha

In addition to the day to day tasks carried out by the ranger team we sometimes get involved with bigger projects such as the Welsh Peatlands Sustainable Management Scheme (SMS). To find out more, come back for June's blog from our Welsh Peatlands SMS Project Officer (South) who will be giving an insight into what the project is doing to help bring Wales' peatlands into sustainable management by 2020.