RURAL residents who want to care for the countryside can become volunteer rangers.

Dorset County Council's Greenspace Management Teams welcome help from members of the public, who will be provided with all of the information, resources and training they need.

The teams manage the county's rights of way network – mainly bridleways and footpaths – as well as long distance trails, nature reserves, open spaces and highway verges.

Graham Stanley, senior ranger said: "The sort of work volunteers can get involved in includes mending stiles on the rights of way network, cutting back vegetation from paths, felling trees on heathland sites, helping run visitor centres, building wooden bridges, fencing and grass cutting – to name just some.

"There is a huge variety of work that volunteers can get involved in, and it really is up to them whether they fancy having a go at all of it or want to specialise in a few areas or in one location.

"The work is diverse and interesting – perfect for anyone with an interest in countryside management."

Would-be rangers of all ages and backgrounds can sign up, especially those who may be considering a career in countryside management.

Graham added: "Anyone over the age of 18 can volunteer, from a school leaver seeking a first step for a career in countryside management, to a retired person looking for further lifelong learning opportunities.

"The scope of the service is wide-ranging so, whatever your interests and skills, there should be a role that suits you."

Anyone who would like to get involved can take part in a trial day to see if the work suits them, and new volunteers are always needed.

Graham said: "In the past year we have had volunteer support amounting to an extra 16,000 hours of work.

"That might sound like a lot but when you consider that we manage over 3,000 miles of public rights of way, over 40 nature reserves of which many are of national and international importance, three visitor centres and countless miles of highway verges, we could still do with more help!"

For more information or to volunteer, contact Graham on 01258 456970 or 07957 557311.

Alternatively email him on