Meet the people behind the places; members of staff who have developed their careers here, volunteers who have gifted hours of their time, centres and associations who never stop raising funds and visitors who bring a smile to our faces every day.
The stunning coastline surrounding Coleton Fishacre needs much more looking after than most people think. The coastal land around Brownstone and Coleton Camp is cared for by our team of Countryside Rangers and here to share some insight is Ranger Mike and Volunteer Ranger Jon.
Teach and inspire
Creating the right balance of scrub land and grassland is one of the ways that the team of rangers have been caring for this land. All of the tools of the trade are used to create this carefully balanced habitat, from elbow grease when cutting back bracken, to roping in some four-legged friends for help.
For Mike, creating that space for nature to ensure it will last forever is the most important thing they do. Jon has been a member of the National Trust for many years, and was only when he moved to this area that he became aware of the work that the Rangers do.
" I love the ‘great outdoors’ and I’m a keen walker so I spend a fair amount of time on the coast path. When I discovered how much work the rangers put into maintaining and improving the coastal landscape, both for accessibility and wildlife conservation reasons, I was keen to help out, particularly as I have more free time now after having recently retired. "
Loving the day job
Working outside and doing something which has a tangible benefit to the local area is what Jon enjoys. The work is often physically demanding and in all weathers, ranging from strimming coast paths to replacing broken steps.
For Mike, it’s working with his team. ‘It’s being able to help other people to do the same, support them and work together to protect and conserve this special area’.
Protecting the coast
Conservation of the natural world is never the same in each place. ‘Our main priority is to conserve habitats, as healthy habitats will support the widest range of flowers and wildlife. Its strength through diversity’ explains Mike.
A lot of the work involves creating a mix of different vegetation types – grasslands, scrub and copse which should encourage a wider range of plants and then wildlife.
‘If the coastal headlands were left alone, they would become overgrown with plants such as bracken and blackthorn. This would leave no room for certain wildlowers or wildlife,’ explains Jon. ‘I’ve been volunteering with the team for over two years and already seen the positive impact.’
If this has inspired you, Mike’s advice is to just get involved. ‘Volunteer, read, research, attend seminars, workshops, get onto a course, educate yourself. Arm yourself with the knowledge and skills you need to make a difference and never be afraid to ask for help. You’ll be amazed at how many people will help you.’
Jon has some top tips too for closer to home.
‘You could create an area in your own back garden where wildlife can thrive simply by leaving a pile of dead wood, or if you want to be more ambitious, by installing a (squirrel proof) bird feeder or digging a small pond. You’ll be amazed how quickly wildlife will become regular visitors.’