Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Cuthbert, Diddle and Grub

September is upon us!  The first few hints of the impending season are working their way into the landscape – there are some leaves on the turn now and the nights have a distinctive chill about them.  Much to my delight though, I am still able to spot the odd symbol of summer that lives on – like the photo below, which I took outside the Social Club next to the staff carpark.  A young House Martin, just fed by his parents but still peeking its head out the nest hoping for more food.  Some birds often have 2 broods of chicks in a year and this must be the tail end of that second brood – just enough time to fledge and plump up on Autumn bounty before it turns really cold.

I have realised that throughout my blog I have been mentioning my colleagues regularly – but with no proper introduction as to who is who.  Therefore, I instantly want to set this right and show off our countryside team – and we are a fairly new team with six out of ten of us having been recruited within the last year and only two who have been here longer than 2 years.
So let the photo line-up begin…

First, our esteemed leader Dylan.  Countryside Operations Manager, he runs the Countryside department here which covers our New Forest sites, Mottisfont Estate, and our sites at Stockbridge and Curbridge.
 Then we have Michelle, our Visitor Experience and Communities Ranger.  Michelle organises events in the New Forest, markets and advertises the work we do and engages with the local communities to better enable them to understand and support our work.

Following on from that is this inspired yokel like photo of 3 more of our team…Left to Right we have Laura, Neil and Dave Johnson.

Laura, Neil and  Dave J
Laura is the Outdoor Ranger for the New Forest.  Elements of her job include co-ordinating volunteers, assisting in carrying out HLS (Higher Level Stewardship) work and carrying out habitat and species surveys.

Neil is our River keeper here at Mottisfont.  We own sections of the River Test, one of the most beautiful chalk streams in Britain, and world famous for its fishing.  Neil manages and conserves the river habitat (with a little help from us in weed-cutting time!) to keep it wildlife friendly, whilst also working in conjunction with the local fishing club who fish our waters.

Dave Johnson is one of our New Forest Estate Rangers.  He carries out much of the on the ground practical work in the Forest, including tree felling, bracken cutting, track and path maintenance and repairs of fences and gates.

Following on from Dave we have the newest addition to our team, Mike who is also a New Forest Estate Ranger.  He has just joined Dave in the role and the two of them will be working together across our sites.


 This next picture is of Lee our Lead Ranger in the New Forest.  He heads up the New Forest staff side of the department and all the work that goes with it including the HLS's, cross complience, licensing, tree planting and felling works.


 Our other Lead Ranger is Dave Chase.  He is the Mottisfont Lead Ranger, so head of the Mottisfont side (known previously on this blog as the rescuer of sunken tractors) and also runs the log sales and forestry work we do here and the EWGs (English Woodland Grant Scheme) that our woodlands are involved in.
Dave C

This is Ryan our Ranger at Mottisfont.  Ryan assists Dave and I with carrying out woodland works, Stockbridge HLS works and organising and running volunteers, as well as doing surveys and taking on the production of charcoal using our own hazel coppice and charcoal kiln.

Finally we have me – although you probably know who I am by now if you read my blog, but I am the Outdoors Ranger for Mottisfont – so same role as Laura, but on the Mottisfont side, not New Forest.  I co-ordinate the volunteers, run events like bushcraft, set up and carry out surveys, run the HLS’s for Stockbridge Down and Marsh and am the representative ranger for our Curbridge Site.  I also like to stick my nose in where I can though, so I help out in the Forest where I’m of use and am involved with the Outdoor Guides here at Mottisfont.

Me and an Adder
That sums up our motley crew, so next time you see one of us out and about working you will have a vague idea of who you are saying hello to.  You may even be able to identify us by which habitat we are spotted in – Neil usually haunts the river, Dave Chase lurks in the woods, I skulk on Stockbridge Down, Laura wanders the heath lands of the forest….you get the picture!

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