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Celebrating 70 Years of Peak District National Park Rangers

As part of the celebrations, National Park rangers recreated a photograph taken outside Edale’s Old Nags Head pub, where the original service was launched on Good Friday, 16th April 1954.

The Peak District was the UK’s original national park – designated on 17th April 1951 – and led the way with the creation of what would become the country’s first ranger service.

Tom Tomlinson was appointed the Peak District’s first national park warden in January 1954 and a warden service of part-time volunteers was created three months later.

Peak District National Park Authority chair, Ken Smith, said: “In the first year of the service, there were 500 volunteers, coming out at weekends to look after the countryside, to enforce the byelaws and encourage people to enjoy the National Park in a responsible way.

“In many respects, the role of rangers today is not that different to what it was 70 years ago. Rangers have a salutary role, encouraging people to do the right thing in the countryside.”

Ranger team manager Andy Farmer added: “I’ve always been very proud to work with the ranger service. We play a vital role, serving the interests of the place, our communities and our visitors.”

In the early days of the service, warden briefings took place in the Old Nags Head, Edale, where landlord and access campaigner Fred Heardman had also set up the Peak District’s first information service in the snug.

Over the years, the role of wardens developed to include wider engagement, including leading walks, conservation and safety work. The term ‘ranger’ was first used during the 1980s.

Today the Peak District National Park Authority employs 28 rangers – including specialist rangers who work on its trails or with education groups – and is grateful for the hard work and commitment of around 230 volunteers.


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