Ranger Cathy Hooper shares some insights into her last nine months of work with our Southern Team.
It’s been a great 9 months as a Ranger in Northumberland National Park and with my maternity cover contract coming to an end I thought I’d give you an insight into what the Rangers have been up to over the past few months.
Joining some of our experienced volunteers to get my bearings over the first few weeks saw me visiting several interesting locations on patrol routes including Greenlee Lough bird hide – a great spot for a bit of bird watching! The Volunteers do a brilliant job of patrolling the most popular routes in the park and it was a pleasure to join them on some of their patrols.
‘Birds are Brill’ was an event I planned and delivered in various different locations throughout the park – aimed at engaging families and raising the profile of the Sill amongst visitors. Activities included owl pellet dissection, binocular making and bird box construction. (seen below with Ranger Mick at the Baliffgate Wild event back in August
More education work was to follow seeing myself leading events at Hareshaw Linn, Ingram and as part of National Park week. The latter was particularly popular with families seeing children of all ages taking part in the bushcraft themed activities.
It has been a busy few months for volunteer projects throughout the park with several practical tasks taking place both on site at Walltown as well as further afield at Hareshaw Linn with the felling and chipping of small trees. Working with the volunteers has certainly been a highlight of the past 9 months; they have so much knowledge of and enthusiasm for the park and are very keen to share this with visitors through their guided walks and patrol programme.
Seen below are a practical tree felling task at Walltown and maintenance work on the trail near to Crag Lough.
Practical rights of way work has been another key part of the role – whether this be responding to complaints from landowners or members of the public, putting in a new fingerpost or stile, or strimming a path – pictured here doing some footpath strimming and having put in a new waymarkerpost at a farm near Tarset.
I’ve been lucky enough to take part in some great training courses during my time with the park including lone working (featuring a day in the wilds close to College Valley) health and safety, and project management. The latter course took place with our National park partners in Wales – based at the Snowdonia National Park Authority study centre at Plas Tan y Bwlch which was a great few days.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 9 months as a Ranger with the park and would like to thank all colleagues and volunteers for being so welcoming – it would be great to return in future – bye for now!