In Summer 2019, Dorchester-based student Abbie Rule worked with the Dorset Countryside Rangers team on a huge variety of jobs.
Abbie explains: “This involved vegetation clearance using pieces of machinery including a flail and the repairing and replacement of boardwalks and bridge. I had the opportunity to take part in both a bird and butterfly survey.
I also spent some time in their workshop and made a sign which involved the cutting of the wood to shape, stencilling the wording and routing it out, then painting it before I put it up at the end of my time there. I also assisted the rechalking of the Cerne Abbas Giant at the start of September which only happens every 10 years.
The few weeks that I was with the rangers was extremely informative and enjoyable, they’re a lovely group of people who helped me learn as much as I could in the short time that I was with them, and I will definitely volunteer with them again in the future”.
Want to be a Ranger?
For those who love being outdoors come rain or shine, working as a ranger in the open countryside is a really appealing prospect. It is also a popular career choice so there are always many applicants for jobs in estates and national parks. To secure that dream job and make yourself stand out you need to have work experience under your belt. You can get valuable experience by joining the Volunteer Network run by the Jurassic Coast Trust and funded by the Coastal Communities Fund. Through the network you can find an opportunity near to you.
One of the best things about being a ranger is that no two days are the same and it is a job that draws on all sorts of skills, be they practical or knowledge based. One day you could be hanging a gate or mending a stile or a bridge and the next you could be taking a school party out and using your wildlife knowledge to teach about butterflies.
Rangers are the interface between the landowners and the public and as they are out on the land every day they hold vital information about what is happening in the countryside around them. Keeping an eye out for what needs to be done next is key – be it noticing that vital signs need repairing, or that livestock could escape through a broken fence.
As well as knowledge and practical skills, rangers need to be good communicators and enjoy working with volunteers and the public. Knowing how to deal with the locals, or how to answer the questions of a visitor is an essential people skill that is hard to pick up by study alone. Work experience builds on your communication skills so that you feel more at ease liaising between the landowner and local communities or talking to groups of visitors.
Apply to Be A Volunteer Ranger
If you would like to find out more about how you could volunteer as a ranger on the Jurassic Coast, please contact Caroline Pearce, our Jurassic Coast Volunteer Network Coordinator via email or on 01308 807000.