How to become an Countryside Ranger. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Countryside Ranger do?
Countryside rangers, sometimes known as countryside wardens, look after and maintain areas of the countryside such as woods, wetlands, common land and national parks. They prevent damage, protect plants and wildlife, and make sure that access is controlled and safe for public use.
As a countryside ranger, your work could include:
- planning and creating habitats to encourage wildlife and flora
- tree planting, pond management and other practical tasks
- making sure footpaths, bridleways and waterways meet health and safety recommendations
- carrying out field surveys to detect changes in the environment
- patrolling sites to assist visitors, and to discourage poaching or damage to the environment
- giving talks
- managing exhibitions and resource centres
- providing guided walks
- taking part in community projects
- working with local landowners and businesses whose activities may affect the environment
- keeping records and writing reports.
You could specialise in a particular area such as habitat management, fieldwork or education, or in certain types of habitat such as waterways, coasts or moorlands.
You would usually work shifts, which may include evenings and weekends. Some jobs are part-time or temporary,
You would spend some time in an office or visitors centre, but there would be a lot of active outdoor work – you would need to be prepared to be outside in all weather conditions and do a lot of walking.
How much does a Countryside Ranger earn?
In local authorities rangers can earn from around £18,000 to over £23,000 a year.
Salaries with other employers vary considerably.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Before starting work as a countryside ranger you will usually need relevant experience. A good way to get experience is by volunteering with organisations such as:
- the Wildlife Trust
- the National Trust
- the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV)
- the Forestry Commission
- Groundwork UK.
Visit the organisations’ websites for details. Some run training courses for their volunteers.
The qualifications you need before starting a paid job will vary depending on the employer and on the amount of experience you have. Relevant qualifications include:
- BTEC Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Countryside Management
- BTEC HNC/HND in Environmental Conservation
- foundation degrees in subjects such as countryside management and conservation
- degrees in subjects such as countryside management, rural environmental management, conservation and environment, or environmental studies.
For all courses you should check with colleges or universities for their entry requirements.
To search for foundation degree, HND and degree courses see the UCAS website.
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Training and Development
As a new ranger, you will usually receive on-the-job training. You may also be able to work towards the Diploma in Work-based Environmental Conservation at levels 2 and 3.
At all stages of your career, you can add to your skills and knowledge by attending short courses. For example, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) offers courses in specialist skills, such as coppicing, species identification and habitat management, and in general subjects, such as IT and office skills, and working with communities. Visit the BTCV website for details.
- British Trust for Conservation Volunteers
As a member of the Countryside Management Association (CMA) you will be able to attend regional and national training and study days and gain professional accreditation through a programme of continuing professional development (CPD). See the CMA website for details.
- Countryside Management Association
Skills and Knowledge
- an interest in the natural environment
- the ability to work both alone and as part of a team
- practical skills for using tools and equipment
- good communication skills
- awareness of health and safety
- ‘people skills’.
You will find most jobs with local authorities. Other employers include the Forestry Commission and organisations like the National Trust, RSPB and local wildlife trusts. There are also many volunteering opportunities.
Once you have experience, you could progress to senior, district or head ranger/warden. You could also move into other jobs in conservation, countryside management or the environment, perhaps after taking further qualifications.