A Year in the Life of a Dartmoor Ranger

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On your visit to Dartmoor you may see one of our Rangers. They are the eyes and ears of the National Park and work closely with other partners to look after Dartmoor.

The Rangers role is varied and over 365 days of the year and includes:-

  • Byelaw enforcement 
  • Public Rights of Way and practical conservation work
  • Educating and advising
  • Assisting emergency services
  • Research, surveying and monitoring

Every day is different with 50% of their work being pro-active (planned) and 50% being re-active (unplanned).


Postbridge farmer Kenny keeps an eye on his lambs. Ranger Serina will also help to ensure that his lambs are kept safe from harm, by talking to the public on the popular walking routes through his farm.

A farmer with young lambs

Student Ranger Stuart gets to grips with putting a new sign in

Ranger and a public footpath signpost

The latest group of Junior Rangers look forward to the year

Group of children on a rock in a woodland

Dartmoor ‘springs’ to life, the land thaws, birds nest in the sprouting bracken on the ground and the bluebells create a spectacular display.

The hill farmers are busy with lambing and the Rangers are out patrolling to ensure that dogs are kept under control and gates are closed at this very special time of the year.

Spring is also a time to review Dartmoor’s 450 miles of Public Rights of Way and make repairs, ready for the summer.

Rangers also begin working with the new intake of Junior Rangers. Each year the programme aimed at 13-16 year olds develops young people through a variety of conservation work experiences; developing teamwork, self-confidence and resilience.


As the days become longer and the gorse bursts into life, dappling the landscape with yellow, the Skylarks provide the musical backdrop to the Rangers daily patrols.

Dartmoor is home to some rare and unique wildlife, many species can only be found on Dartmoor. This is celebrated at the Meldon Wildlife Festival where people can get some hands on experience of spotting wildlife and learning how to look after it.

Ranger Ian opens a dormouse box on his dormouse walk at Meldon Wildlife Festival

Ranger with a dormouse box on a tree

Ranger Simon enjoys a tea break with his Haytor volunteers

Group of volunteers on a rocky tor

One of the many tasks Junior Rangers do with Rangers is repairing burnt areas where people have left their barbeques on the ground.

Children repairing burnt ground

The support of volunteers plays a big and very valued part of the work the Rangers do.

Voluntary Wardens work very closely with Rangers on Public Rights of Way maintenance and litter clearing after busy weekends at popular spots. There are also opportunities to join in with special volunteering days to work on specific areas.


The landscape is truly magical in the autumn light; the earlier setting sun gives a spectacular golden touch to the Tors. This is the best time to get out with your camera to capture the sunsets.

Voluntary Warden Bill helps put a gatepost in

Man digging a large gatepost hole

Ranger Simon and Stuart clear one of the many leats on Dartmoor to ensure the water flows freely.

Rangers clearing a small waterway

Ranger Ella helps some walkers get the most from their day exploring the moor

Ranger helping people to look at a map

The Ranger team use this time to continue to do vital repairs and maintenance before the winter sets in.

Lots of people love exploring the moors, Dartmoor is one of the most significant areas for Bronze Age archaeology in Western Europe, you can see the remains of what our ancestors built scattered everywhere.


The landscape in the snow creates the most beautiful Christmas card scenes turning the moor into a winter wonderland. However for the Rangers and farmers the conditions make working days a bit more challenging.

Feeding livestock in winter conditions can be a struggle if people block gates with cars to go and play in the snow. Rangers regularly patrol to ensure gates are kept clear.

Rangers help make sure farmers can get to their livestock

Despite the weather Rangers still rely on the regular help of volunteers at weekends to help them with key areas. Winter is a good time to monitor the moors and survey erosion sites, ready to make repairs in the spring.