On 31 July every year, World Ranger Day, organised by the International Ranger Federation, celebrates the critical work rangers do to protect and conserve both the natural environment and the cultural heritage of more than 100,000 reserves and parks across the planet.


The duties of these often-unsung heroes vary from country to country, from protecting mountain gorillas in Rwanda’s Volcano National Park to advising campers on fire safety in the Australian Outback.

In Britain, like many other countries, rangers provide a vital point of contact between countryside visitors, residents and local authorities.

They are also responsible for maintaining these sites, with roles ranging from the upkeep of footpaths, gates, stiles and bridges to educating the public on sustainable walking, camping and farming practices.

Golden sunrise at Mam Tor in the English Peak District on a hazy Autumn Morning with wooden gate.

Rangers are responsible for maintaining gates, fences and bridges in protected areas such as the Peak Distrcit
One of the best ways to understand the amazing role Britain’s rangers play in the protection of our countryside is by working alongside them. There are lots of ways to get involved – and here are five of the best.

1) Family ranger day in Exmoor National Park
exmoor national park somerset england uk

Rangers maintain waymarkers in UK national parks such as Exmoor
Pack your boots and head to Cornwall and Devon for a day out with a park ranger. Learn about the work they do and pick up some new and exciting skills, such as den building, pizza making, hunting for bugs and more. The next meet up is on 2 August, but with events running throughout the year, there are lots of chances to get involved. Find out more here.

2) Volunteer in a national park
Watching the mist roll in over the fells

Join guided ranger walks in the Lake District
UK national parks rely on those hardworking and happy people who give up their spare time to keep our countryside healthy. With lots to learn – including repairing and maintaining uplands paths, conducting archaeological surveys, leading people around the fells on guided walks, supporting the team in the Head Office, meeting and greeting visitors at the centres or working on practical conservation tasks – it’s a fulfilling way to spend a day. Find out more about volunteering.

3) Meet a forest ranger in North Yorkshire
People near campfire in forest

Learn to build a campfire in North Yorkshire
Learn how to identify animal tracks, discover the secrets of the forest by night and uncover the wonders of the woodland ecosystem with Forest Holidays. Choose from a range of affordable courses, including Mini Forest Rangers, Forest Survival and Forest Night Vision, and discover the secrets of the trees.

4) National Trust working holidays
Snowdonia Wales landscape with lake

Plant trees in Snowdonia National Park
If you enjoy fresh air, new faces and a physical challenge, this alternative activity break is for you. The National Trust’s working holidays give you a chance to work alongside the experts, gaining new skills and making friends. Take on an island adventure on Brownsea Island, repair footpaths in Carmarthenshire or plant trees in the Snowdonia mountains.

5) National Park residential centre
A red and blue butterfly has landed on a yellow dandelion flower against a grassy background

Learn bout wildlife identification from a national park ranger
Journey to your favourite national park, sleep in a remote lodge and work alongside expert rangers with a national park residential. Learn to build a fire at the Danywenallt Study Centre in the Brecon Beacons, identify animal species in the Lakes or take on a wildlife walk in Snowdonia.

Learn more about World Ranger Day and the International Ranger Federation.


Images: Getty


Daniel Graham of COuntryfile magazine on a hike with wet hair and blue coat and hills in background
Daniel GrahamOutdoors editor, BBC Countryfile Magazine

Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.