Alex Shilling

Ranger, Stackpole Estate

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Alex Shilling - Ranger

Meet one of our rangers as he shares his top tips for your visit to Stackpole, plus an insight into his role and favourite place in Pembrokeshire.

Ranger Alex working at Stackpole

What does your role involve?

The ranger role at Stackpole is hugely varied as we carry out management across the wide range of habitats found here, as well as improving access across the site to enable people to enjoy this fantastic landscape.

My personal area of expertise is woodland management, so much of my time involves planning and carrying out woodland management, tree safety inspections and remedial works.  However, working on our stunning coastline and at places like Bosherston Lily Ponds and Gupton Farm means that every day brings something different.

What do you enjoy about working for the National Trust?

I get to contribute to maintaining and improving incredible places for wildlife and for people to enjoy every day. Making positive change is hugely rewarding and reflecting on all the good things that have been achieved as I walk around the estate motivates me to want to do more.

Do you have a favourite place in Pembrokeshire?

Freshwater West in the summer, although busy, has a great atmosphere – especially when the surf is on and Café Mor is cooking! 

If I had to choose somewhere away from Stackpole (I do leave, occasionally!) then I do love the solitude and incredible views from atop the Preseli Hills, best enjoyed during a nice dry spell on my bike.

What are your top 3 things to see and do at Stackpole?

  1. A dawn walk – A stroll from Bosherston Lily Ponds to Broad Haven South gives a great opportunity to see the best of the wildlife here, finishing with a beach to yourself… and maybe a swim if it’s warm enough!
  2. Mountain biking – Riding my mountain bike through Castle Dock and Cheriton Bottom woods along our new waymarked trail is especially good in the spring once the bluebells are in bloom. The trail finishes with one of my favourite views on the whole estate from Belvidere Hill.
  3. Bat watching – Watching the greater horseshoe bats emerge from the Stableyard is a real spectacle. Even though they are my neighbours, I still love watching them as they come out en masse at dusk and sharing this with visiting friends and family is great. If you head over to the eight-arch bridge around the same time, you may also see Daubenton’s bats feeding low over the surface of the water.