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Woodland Edge

Ramblings of a (would be) Volunteer Ranger - Part 5!

Thornton Reservoir

August, and the last of the so-called summer months.  Time since the last walk has passed frighteningly quickly and the school summer holidays are almost over.

Although it’s not the end of volunteer ranger duties, I find myself reflecting on the role so far.  Have I been filling in the forms correctly? Are they helping both Caroline and the Rights of Way team at the County Council?  Are the photos useful?  Is the information helpful or confusing?

As with most things, experience has taught me lessons and this time my walk is better planned.  Previous reports are consulted and hopefully this time it will simply be an enjoyable walk with very little need to write things down.  It also seems sensible to try it from the opposite direction, which in places made it seem unfamiliar - amazing how changing direction can make the familiar unfamiliar!!

My only hair-raising moment was coming across the cows again – sitting minding their own business directly in front of the kissing gate I would need to get through to exit the field I was about to enter.  No other way out in this direction.  If you’ll pardon the very obvious pun, I took the bull by the horns and decided that walking across the middle of the field where they could see me was the best way to go, rather than try and creep around the side of the field and potentially alarm them. Taking this route across most of the field meant I was in full view as I walked towards the herd, but then eventually there was nothing for it: I had to walk right up to them.  As I drew level they promptly started to get up, and it’s not until you’re up very close and personal that you realise how large these animals are.  Heart beating a little faster, I increased the pace to pass them.  Turning, as I went through the gate, I noticed there were a few younger animals and was relieved that the group had not felt the need to be protective! 

The experience of being a volunteer ranger so far has been enjoyable and eye-opening with a large dose of “feeling responsible”.  It has got me off my bottom, into the outdoors, exploring the area around where I live.  Whilst it hasn’t yet improved the bodywork, that’s not surprising; everyone knows exercising once a month won’t make much of a difference!  However, for a few weeks now my husband and I have been walking part of the Way and making it into a circular route we can do from home – as the nights draw in it’s something that will soon only be possible at the weekend, but we’re looking forward to walking on one of those fabulous cold crisp winter days!

Not only have the regular circulars proved effective for becoming very familiar with a small stretch of the route, it has also brought to my attention that, in one particular location, I’ve not been following the correct path!!  In a previous blog I think it mentioned I wasn’t sure if it was the directions or my interpretation of them – and it was the latter!  Never mind, now I know!

You will be pleased to know this is the last of my ‘ramblings’.  Hopefully we will soon hear from another ranger – maybe one of the ‘professionals’! 

Thank you for reading and happy walking!