A day in the life of a South Downs ranger

July 5, 2018

World Ranger Day on 31 July is an annual celebration of the work that rangers do across the globe. To mark the occasion Charlotte Wray, Assistant Ranger, shares a day in her life.

No two days are the same, just as no two rangers are the same – the diversity of the job keeps us all on our toes and means we use a huge number of different skills…

Yellowhammer at Gander Down copyright John Walton


Surveying 1km squares as part of the South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative. These help to track the population trends of important farmland birds like yellowhammer and skylark and are best done before 9am.


Practical conservation tasks with our volunteers, such as cutting back hawthorn and blackthorn on chalk grassland, coppicing woodland to open up clearings for wildlife and improving accessibility on the South Downs Way.


Clearing nettles at a local chalk grassland site, so we’ll carry out a butterfly survey too. The results go to Butterfly Conservation, but any data also helps us and the landowner gauge the recovery of this threatened habitat.


Back to the yard with our volunteers where we unload and carry out tool and vehicle maintenance. If we have time we’ll make some barn owl boxes for local farmers. We monitor these in the spring with the Hawk Conservancy Trust.


A good time to catch up on emails and start planning for tomorrow when we’re attending an event with the Country Trust. We’ll be engaging with school children of all ages, teaching them about the National Park and the ecology of barn owls and water voles.


Time to check one of our South Downs geocaches on the way home – it’s been reported missing but after a short hunt we’ve found it nearby and hidden it again, ready for the next intrepid explorer to find!