Sadly today marks the end of my time at Blackwater Valley. Working here has been a great experience and there are many things I will miss! The staff and particularly the volunteers – but I’m not sure they will miss me or my rocky road.

I am moving West and starting a new role with the Field Studies Council on the edge of Exmoor.

Thank you to everyone who I have worked with over the last 8 months it has been a pleasure to get to know you all and hopefully I’ll be seeing some of you in the future.  I have included some of my favourite photos/ memories.
Assistant Ranger Charlotte



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Meandering at Manor Park

Today Stu, Charlotte, Jenny & I have been joined by volunteers Janet & Claire to thin trees at Manor Park Annexe. The weedier planted saplings have been removed to give the healthier trees room to grow. 

Thinned plantation

We’ve also opened up some paths so visitors can explore, and we removed a trailer-load of rubbish.

Opened up path

 Thank you to everyone for helping on this soggy day. It was lovely get such a positive reception from visitors and to see a rainbow while I was turning in the fire.

Ranger Stuart

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Visiting Violets

Last week the team popped down to Surrey Hills by the Hogs Back to test a new mower for managing our chalk grasslands slopes. We also spotted some delicate Sweet Violets emerging from the hillside.

Sweet Violet

Ranger Stuart

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The Song of the Morning

Dawn Chorus walk

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Sinking feeling at Swan Lake

Today I joined Jenny and Charlotte to install a replacement height barrier at Swan Lake. It was a challenging day digging a 1m hole for the slam post to hold the gate open, with an interesting array of large buried concrete blocks to bash through.

Charlotte’s sinking feeling

Ranger Stuart

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Would you like to work for the Blackwater Valley Rangers?

We’re currently recruiting for an new Assistant Ranger. If you would like to find out more, then please take a nose at this job link.




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Spring is here for our toads

Today Jenny and I had a pleasant surprise when we found toads spawning at Darby Green Pond, where only a couple of weeks ago we discovered over 500 breeding frogs. Unlike the more frequent frogspawn, toads lay their jelly-covered eggs in double chains which form tangled strands around the vegetation. It’s great to see that our hard work at Darby Green Pond clearing invasive plants, is already having a positive impact on our amphibians by providing open water for breeding.

Toads spawning

Ranger Stuart



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