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A Ranger, also known as a Countryside Ranger, is responsible for the care and maintenance of the open countryside accessible to the public, working in areas such as nature reserves, country parks, coastal areas, heath and moor land, and national parks.    

Rangers are concerned with the protection of plants and animals, as well as maintaining and creating habitats for wildlife. They may, as part of their duties, monitor the site (or sites) to make sure visitors follow by-laws and regulations that protect the environment and help deter illegal activities such as poaching or vandalism.         

Rangers often also host educational sessions and provide information on conservation matters and heritage of the sites they patrol.   

Ranger wearing uniform is leaning on a fence and looking out over park

The information in our job profiles aims to give a general overview of the role and a guideline to what it involves. The content is not intended to be exhaustive and roles will vary depending on the organisation and sector. The salary ranges are a guide only, as these are dependent on the size and location of the organisation.

Salary range

How does this role align to the green agenda?

Rangers play a key role in protecting our natural landscapes, and as educators for future generations. They are important to help ensure that our countryside and open natural spaces can flourish in years to come.    

Land and biomass are precious natural assets that must be protected, as lots of our carbon is stored in our forests and land. Our countryside, coasts, moors and forests all play an important role in our complex food chain, as well as contributing to the UK’s vital biodiversity. The protection of such areas is not just important ecologically – much of our rich history and heritage is connected to these areas and sites. 

Male ranger measuring the width of a tree

Skills and capabilities

Technical knowledge

  • Passion for, and knowledge of, the local setting, environment and conservation concerns    
  • Multitasking and doing practical jobs such as site maintenance, risk assessment for fires and floods, and conservation activities    
  • Supervising, providing instruction to others and working independently    
  •  Engaging with the public to encourage responsible behaviour in line with the site visitor rules and regulations    
  • Retaining different audiences’ interest when educating and advising on conservation and heritage    
  • Producing reports and promotional materials relevant for the site    
  • Using technology to perform tasks such as recording and reporting data, and monitoring biodiversity.

Transferable skills

  • Effective communication    
  • Decision making    
  • Influencing    
  • Leadership    
  • Listening    
  • Mentoring    
  • Organising    
  • Planning    
  • Prioritising. 

A day in the life

Rangers are often busy, and multitasking is called for. Often the role will report to a Senior Ranger who you will keep informed of your findings from field surveys and the monitoring of wildlife, pests and predator populations.       

Although some daily tasks may be repetitive, such as site set up and closing for the day, no two days are the same. The role of a Ranger is to ensure site safety and conservation with duties such as repairing paths and fences and litter picking, as well as the management of visitors. This may entail  leading guided walks and talks, monitoring car parking and providing general site information. You may also supervise and train volunteers and work experience placements.         

Rangers look out over woodland to assess damage following a storm

A good level of physical fitness is required for the role, along with mobility and co-ordination as lifting, carrying, and using specialist and sometimes heavy equipment will be called for. You might take short courses in first aid, or how to handle equipment such as chainsaws.

The role is typically full time and may include early mornings, evenings and weekends. Some roles will be seasonal or part-time. Be prepared to work outside in all weather conditions and on occasion in an office or travelling out to give educational talks to schools, for example. A driving licence and a full DBS/PVG check is often required (as you may work with children and or/vulnerable people).

Entry routes

There is not one defined route to becoming a Ranger. Although many Countryside Rangers hold a relevant degree, foundation degree, or Higher National Diploma (HND) in fields like countryside management, environmental conservation, an earth science, or a biological science, this is not always a necessity.   You can view some of the potential routes below or view an up-to-date list of qualifications for Rangers on the Lantra website.  

To note: in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, it will typically take three years to complete a full-time, undergraduate degree. In Scotland, it typically takes four years. Apprenticeship courses vary in length, and also require an end-point assessment period. Please check this information on a case-by-case basis.

Work experience and volunteering on a countryside site is especially useful as an introduction to ranger work. This experience could be in an environmental or conservation project, or in a related area such as farming, horticulture, or forestry, for example. Apprenticeships are also a fantastic way to build a career in this area.         

In addition, various training courses may be advantageous as you gain experience in the role, such as in field ornithology, the safe use of pesticides or tree surveying.

Potential career progression

 Conservation offers many exciting career options for people who want to protect the environment and help others enjoy it in a sustainable way. 

With experience, you may move into the role of Senior Ranger or seek further career opportunities within conservation.

 You may lean towards a role in educating others or working towards a more scientific career.

Or you could consider more specialised work like forestry, coastal area management, or wildlife conservation.

Relevant sectors

  • Agriculture  
  • Charity  
Woman ranger planting trees

Learn about the green agenda across different sectors

Information kindly supplied by:
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Lantra is one of the leading awarding bodies for land-based industries in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

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