An Interview with our Area Ranger

Leo our Ranger

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 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 seem so different in the changing seasons - what is your favourite time of the year for a walk around Greys Court?

'Greys Court is blessed with a mix of woodland, from towering beech high forest, through softwood and ash plantation to oak with a coppiced understorey. The continuity of woodland cover has enabled a fine carpet of bluebells to establish. The purple haze on a damp April morning is hard to top.'

Bluebell flower head
Bluebell flower head
Bluebell flower head

Can you describe what your guided estate walks at Greys Court 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.'


To join a guided walk with Leo, book a ticket for £3 online below.

Upcoming events

May half-term trail: Moths and butterflies at Greys Court

Sat 25 May 2019
Venture out with your little explorers this May half term and discover more about moths and butterflies to win a prize.

'Exploring Form' Oxford Sculptors Group Exhibition at Greys Court

Sat 01 Jun 2019
Explore Greys Court this June in a new way with the Oxford Sculptors Group displaying new artworks around the gardens, grounds and in the Cromwellian building.

Silent space in the Tower Garden

Sun 02 Jun 2019
Imagine being in a green and tranquil space where you feel free to switch off your phone, stop talking and just relax for a moment or two. The Tower Garden will be a silent space on selected Sundays for visitors to do just that.

Art classes with Paul Robbens at Greys Court

Wed 05 Jun 2019
Join Paul for a day of painting, drawing and creativity at Greys Court, with lunch provided.

Natural Play at Greys Court

Mon 01 Jul 2019
Start the summer holidays at Greys Court and get stuck into nature on our brand new play area for all the family.

Exhibition: Sir John Brunner

Mon 01 Jul 2019
Walk around the house and learn more about the last family who lived at Greys Court.