Joe Daggett - Head Warden in the Brecon Beacons
Head Warden, Brecon Beacons
Nature conservation is a core area of my work. Sometimes, I'm co-ordinating specific projects on our own sites with staff and volunteers. At other times, I work alone on the Beacons.
My varied work includes:
- Carrying out bio-surveys
- Butterfly transects
- Discussing issues with farm tenants about grazing, or soil management
- Representing the National Trust at internal and external meetings
- Promoting our work and feeding into the wider conservation debate
A large part of my role and the buzz word these days is working in partnership. I'm also project managing the Abergwesyn Project – a pilot project to gauge how we can manage one of our largest upland sites in Mid & South East Wales. It covers 6,777 hectares of Upland Common.
I also have a role as cross compliance manager to ensure we look after our in-hand sites to meet legal requirements.
What else do I do?
I support our team to manage and co-ordinate volunteers and field volunteer enquiries and support recruitment of volunteers. From time to time, I directly manage small volunteer projects such as building surveys.
I oversee the day to day work of the Warden Team and lend support where needed. I help to set-up and deliver some of our engagement activities - including guided walks and community projects – setting up meetings and events.
How I got here?
I've always loved being outside - mainly exploring and adventures as a child – and cycle touring as a teenager and young adult. At 16 a girlfriend introduced me to the BTCV and volunteer conservation work – and I helped her set up a conservation group in my old home town of Harlow in Essex. It was a great time, and a great bunch of people.
It was there I got hooked on practical conservation work – coppicing, hedge laying, tree felling and pond clearance. I carried this through at university with a student group – who were great friends and good fun.
I studied Environmental Science - finished my degree in 1990 and after spending best part of year in Italy working on a friend's small holding in Tuscany - I came back to Brecon in Wales – and started volunteering for the National Trust and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (BBNPA).
Nearly 19 years later, having started as a volunteer with the National Trust - I've crawled my way through the labyrinth of its Wardenship programme…
The job is different everyday, every week, every year. I miss the hard graft work now – but do get excited at the prospect of getting more people involved and hooked – and of course the places are fantastic too.