After 30 years with the National Trust and 26 years looking after Blickling’s 4,500 acre estate, Head Ranger Dave Brady has hung up his work boots for the last time. Now his achievements and dedication to Blickling will be forever remembered as the estate’s longest waymarked walk is re-named ‘Brady’s Walk’ in his honour.
Dave joined the Blickling team in 1990 and since then has worked tirelessly to conserve the beautiful historic landscape and the abundant and diverse wildlife that it offers a home to.
Dave’s achievements over two and a half decades at Blickling are far-reaching. They include his award-winning work on the River Bure restoration for which the countryside team received the Wild Trout Trust and Orvis Conservation awards; as well as restoring the historic woodland areas of Kingshot Copse and Hyde Park, and reverting Tower Park from agriculture to grassland.
His dedication to conservation and wildlife has been inspirational and he has worked tirelessly to increase the diversification and abundance of native species across the Estate. This can be clearly seen in the breath-taking swathes of bluebells that sweep across the park every year in May.
Dave says that one of his most rewarding pieces of work was working with a group of young students who were on the brink of expulsion from school. “I found that working with them on the estate and teaching them basic skills helped them to think differently and to feel like they had some value. This was hugely rewarding for me,” he said. In fact his work with them was so successful he went on to be nationally awarded and recognised as ‘a vocational ambassador working with schools’.
Inspired by the map of the estate created from the survey carried out by James Corbridge in 1729, Dave has always seen how Blickling’s parkland, house and gardens fit together as one estate and is passionate that this holistic view of Blickling continues. “If I could leave a legacy, it would be for Blickling to keep moving forward and thinking as one estate” he said.
It is perhaps very apt then, that another of Dave’s retirement presents was a beautiful reproduction of the Corbridge map in a handcrafted frame made from wood from his beloved Blickling Estate. But the gift that visibly moved him was without a doubt the honour of having the estate walk dedicated to him. “It is such a big compliment” he said “you never feel like you deserve it!”
" Dave's incredible knowledge and dedication will be missed by everyone here at Blickling. Renaming the estate walk is the perfect way to honour and thank Dave for everything he has done."
So what will Dave do now as his retirement stretches before him? The open road beckons for him and his wife Christine. “We aren’t going to plan or book anywhere, just head out on our vintage motorbikes and travel wherever the road takes us. Total freedom!”
Sounds like a wonderful end to a wonderful career.