Wildlife and countryside adviser, North of England
Stephen has been with the National Trust since 2003, advising on the wildlife management of the land we look after in Yorkshire and the North East of England.
Scotland to South Africa
Stephen hails from the highlands of Scotland, but spent much of his youth in South Africa which was an inspiring start for somebody interested in the natural sciences: being surrounded by a huge variety of wildlife and pristine habitats, and a garden full of both fascinating and dangerous creatures, many of which ended up in study tanks in his bedroom (much to his parents’ horror!).
Birds or botany
His early interests were both plants, and birds, and he actually started his natural history interests as a birdwatcher, before realising that it was actually OK to be a plantwatcher as well. Returning to the UK, he obtained a degree in botanical sciences from the University of Reading, and was ready to move into a career of academic research in the field of plant classification before realising that nature conservation was his real passion in life.
Yorkshire (via Scotland and Wales)
He started his career as a field surveyor, training with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, before moving down to Wales to work for the Countryside Council for Wales as a vegetation surveyor, where he spent a few years gaining experience of a variety of habitats through surveying the uplands and lowlands of central Wales. He then spent several years working for the statutory nature conservation body, English Nature (now Natural England), both in Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire, gaining an understanding of wildlife law and conservation of protected species, and experience of a number of different habitat types including meadows, woodlands, coastal sites and geology.
Nature and the National Trust
Stephen has been with the National Trust since 2003, advising the Trust on the wildlife management of its land throughout Yorkshire and the North East of England. He is a firm believer in deep and meaningful contact with wildlife, particularly for children, to build an early fascination and lifelong interest in nature, an interest which will hopefully translate into valuing and conserving our natural heritage.