Countryside Worker
Field Identification Guide: Plates and Details

National Trust Warden
Unlike most other countryside workers, National Trust wardens show little variation in phenotype. They are remarkably similar in appearance and demeanour wherever you find them. Although details vary, the characteristic logos will be easily spotted at some distance, making identification very simple. These Wardens are often found in groups, and tend to range over relatively small areas. They can often be found with a good supply or 'cache' of equipment, which they guard jealously.

Sometimes they will be accompanied by a small 'troupe' of volunteers or trainees, but unlike those who follow local council rangers these commensals are quite harmless, and may even approach the observer with a gleam of zeal in their eyes, and see if they can be persuaded to 'join'.

National Trust Warden?

Wildlife Trust Ranger
A swift creature, almost always found alone, the Wildlife Trust Ranger or Warden is known to range huge distances, often stopping only for a few moments before moving on. You will often find these workers by following their signs, logos, flags, bunting and other territorial markers which they tirelessly put up. One traditional method of attracting them is to stake out a suited businessperson in a field, and persuade them to shout 'Sponsorship!' at regular intervals. Close to a county boundary this method will allegedly attract several different Wildlife Trust Rangers who will fight together, with the winner supposedly then performing an entertaining courtship ritual.
Wildlife Trust Ranger?

National Park Ranger
Before the last ice age there was only one type of native Ranger in Britain, which was the National Park Ranger. This impressive beast is still locally quite common in remote areas, but its range is rapidly diminishing. Other, more adaptable and aggressive species are colonising the traditional areas where these gentle animals once roamed. They are mostly timid, and found far from habitation, usually in pairs or small groups. However once located they can quite easily be approached (see picture), as few will be familiar with humans.

National Park Ranger

Rights of Way Officer or AONB Officer
These are scarce, and in some regions they are rarely if ever seen in the open. There are a great many different types and local variations. However, once spotted, few will mistake these magnificent and brightly-coloured creatures. The strong coloration and very new boots will almost always be the easiest characteristic to identify. A recently reported race or possibly even subspecies is the 'Best Value Footpath Surveyor'. Often better equipped than the Rights of Way officer, clothing-wise, boots clean but actually well used etc, clothing in less garish colours, these volunteers have been left to roam free with minimal supervision.

In a bid to curb their range the RoW officer has employed a fiendish level of paperwork, carefully marked with yellow highlighter but devoid of useful information. On a recent sighting a volunteer was seen operating a digital camera to capture blurred images of barbed wire, electric fences and the rare "Waymark plant" (a single stemmed plant with yellow and green arrow-like blooms, most blooms to a plant seen so far - 6). If approached they are an amiable species happy to discuss their task but often confused as to what a 'Performance Indicator' really is....

Initial research suggests this new subspecies is a merging of two other volunteer sub-groups, the "I'm doing something worthy" group and the more fearsome and aggressive RA (Ramblers Association / Rural Activists...... whatever.) It is hoped, in time, that through twice annual repetitive traverses of the same survey path, the placid nature of the sheep-like volunteer will once again come to the fore. None of the above to be confused with those who actually repair or maintain Rights of Way - these more common and hardy specimens are likely to be similar to Local Council Rangers and may, according to some authorities, actually be a subrace of that species anyway.

Rights of Way Officer or AONB Officer
Best Value Footpath Surveyor?

Senior Ranger (best available picture)
Once common, these specimens are now rarely seen. Senior Rangers are usually sighted alone - a sighting of more than one at a time is most unusual. In more rural regions they can still be spotted regularly, but populations are falling to levels below which any recovery is unlikely. If you are determined to get this 'tick', be prepared to get up early as Senior Rangers are early risers and usually leave the roost well before 8am at all seasons. Once they have gone, locating them is almost impossible.

Senior Ranger?

Exotic National Park Ranger
Very rarely vagrant, Exotic National Park Rangers are known to migrate from their native environments, usually Africa or Australia, and become semi-naturalised in Britain. The reasons for this are unknown, and some have suggested that these very few specimens can only have been introduced by human intervention. They have remarkable abilities and are not in any way to be confused with the native National Park rangers (see above). Unlike the native species, Exotics are very garrulous, telling unlikely tales of bush hunts and civil rebellion at the least provocation. They also show some distinctive behaviors which are never seen in any other UK species, such as wearing leather shorts or biting snakes. Some have been around for so long that they cannot be returned to their original home as it has changed into a civilised area beyond their comprehension.

Exotic National Park Ranger?

RSPB Warden
A very rare sighting. You have found an RSPB warden, hardly ever seen in daylight and very shy of human company. The best and safest way to see them is on an organised visit or event. There is an annual 'Warden Trapping Night' where volunteers around the country ring 'Birdline' and report various bogus sightings, then stand by their traps to record the wardens and other exotica as they arrive.

RSPB Warden ?

The common Local Council Ranger

Found in a range of colours and types, but rarely far from civilisation. Some have become quite urbanised, so if you do find one in a town or city be sure not to alarm or anger it by referring to it as a 'countryside' worker. Usually docile, they are sometimes found alongside contractors or trainees, who can be quite dangerous to the inexperienced. Be very careful not to get between a ranger and their trainees.
The common Local Council Ranger?

Senior Manager or Elected Member

You have located a Senior Manager or Elected Member, not strictly considered a countryside worker at all. However, when you sight this creature you may observe remarkable behaviour in other countryside workers nearby, such as frantic digging, gathering vegetation, grooming behaviour, or hiding blemishes on vehicles. Many observers have reported that countryside staff seem to be able to sense the approach of a 'senior manager' long before even the sharpest human eye can see them. No further details available.
Senior Manager or Elected Member?