Seasonal Ranger, South East Cornwall
Rhys is part of the team that looks after a variety of countryside habitats in South East Cornwall, he loves working outdoors, and has all sorts of responsibilities as a seasonal Ranger.
Why were you interested in working for us?
I wanted to work for a conservation charity and the opportunity as a full time volunteer was the initial reason for my interest in working in here. I didn’t really know what to expect when I moved down from North Wales, but within a month I fell in love with the place. South East Cornwall offers a variety of landscape to enjoy. There’s coastal walks, beaches, woods, moors, wild sea swimming, mountain biking and climbing.
What are your main responsibilities as a seasonal Ranger?
We run a small, low-key campsite at Lansallos, and looking after it is a major part of the seasonal position, as summer time is prime camping time. It includes working evenings and weekends but everyone chips in and works together so it never feels like you are working a seven day week We also run activity days for our campers, we’re either down by the sea rock pooling, or in the woods, making bug hotels and dens, or arts and crafts in the barn.
Away from the campsite I get involved in access, and countryside management. Visitors using the South West Coast Path (we look after several stretches) increase in the summer and the grass and scrub never stop growing, so we spend a lot of time out cutting. We might also be fixing fences, gates and bridges or installing way-markers and signs.
I also take photos for the Trust, they supplied me with a camera and a bit of training, and in return I send in shots of our daily work, landscapes and wildlife spots. Thankfully they don’t expect professional shots from me, but I do think I’m improving.
For people interested in photography, are there some particularly good shot spots?
Pencarrow headland (between Lantic and Lantivet) and Lantic Bay are strong contenders because of the scenery, cheeky Dexter cattle and the bird life around there – you often see kestrels and peregrine falcons. Lansallos is always great for photography, especially on those evenings where the sun hits the spray of a wave crashing against the rocks, or early morning as the sun rises over the sea here. Our Dartmoor/Exmoor ponies and the Gribbin Tower provide great photos: ponies are always changing and posing but the Gribbin never moves which is much easier to photograph!
What do visitors like most about the place?
Everyone loves a good beach, and there are loads around here (Lantic, Lansallos, Lantivet, Looe, Whitsands, and surprise hidden coves). Walkers love the coast path, and there are plenty of way-marked routes to follow. We’ve also got the rivers, Fowey and Lerryn that offer great kayaking - I recommend stopping off at Golant, Lerryn and Ethy. People come back summer on summer to the campsite, its quiet, remote and basic, they love it.
What kind of activities so you run for the campers?
Families who come here obviously enjoy an outdoor summer holiday, the kids are already out and about, but we love to take them for a closer look in rockpools, or going wild in the woods, or camp fire cooking. After a day with us they will be ticking off all sorts from their 50 Things lists.
What do you like most about your job?
Most definitely my work colleagues. We’re a great team, we love the area and the job.
That was then, this is now...
Since Rhys was interviewed for this article he has been successful in getting a ranger post in Devon where he continues to develop his skills and knowledge of conservation and countryside management.