Park Rangers

About our Park Rangers:

Park Rangers

Our team of Park Rangers at Adur & Worthing Councils maintain our parks and open spaces, working with green space volunteer community groups across Adur and Worthing helping them with various projects and supporting them in developing their groups, working to enable communities in Adur and Worthing to improve their health and wellbeing.

You can read our Park Rangers' current blog posts on this page below:

Find out about our Park Ranger bloggers below.

See also: Parks


29th July 2022: Give nature a boost and join our BioBlitz

Emily Ford, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Emily and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

“This information helps to know what species are on a site, as well as adding to a global record of species and abundances.”

BioBlitz:

As part of the park rangers' summer events programme on Thursday, 4th August 2022 our team will be hosting a BioBlitz at Shepherds Mead.

In association with the South Downs National Park Authorities rangers, Worthing Museum, Findon valley Residents Association and Shoreham district Ornithological Society, the event by the Central Avenue entrance is from 10am to 3pm.

A BioBlitz is a way of capturing a snapshot of life at a specific location and allows experts and members of the public to work together to find and identify as many species of plant, fungi, animals and other organisms as possible within a 24-hour period.

Over the course of the day there will be several guided tours that highlight the birds and trees, as well as the history of the area. In addition, there is an ID station, Waymarked routes around the site and other activities to undertake at base camp.

As well as being a great way to engage about the importance of the site and let more people learn about the different wildlife, a BioBlitz also allows for the surveying, which can help with efforts to improve the site both - to help the environment and for the community that use it.

To record the species found on the site we will be using paper lists and also a website called iNaturalist that allows for complete novices to take part in nature recording and gain ID skills.

With iNaturalist you submit a photo or sound recording to the site and give as much detail as possible. The website community then either ID the species or confirm that the ID given is correct. This information helps to know what species are on a site, as well as adding to a global record of species and abundances.

You can record what you've found on the site, or see what has been found over the course of the BioBlitz on:

Butterfly walks:

In addition, we have also arranged for two butterfly walks in the next few weeks that are run by Neil Hulme from Sussex Butterfly Conservation.

The events are at:

  • Saturday, 30th July 2022: Lancing Ring
  • Saturday, 6th August 2022: Shepherds Mead, meeting at the Coombe Rise car park

With a guided walk from 11am to 1pm and species recording from 2pm to 4pm

For more information on these walks and to guarantee a space please contact:

Photo: Fritillary butterfly

2022-09-29 - Fritillary butterfly

Photo: View across the land at Shepherds Mead looking towards the sea

2022-09-29 - View across the land at Shepherds Mead looking towards the sea

Photo: View across the land at Shepherds Mead looking towards the houses in Findon Valley

PR21-015 - View across the land at Shepherds Mead looking towards the houses in Findon Valley

Photo: Lancing Ring

PR21-149 - Lancing Ring

Back to top or Back to other staff

20th July 2022: The varied day of a ranger

Graeme Brooker, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Graeme and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

“Whilst installing the piece of equipment at the playground I received a call asking me to look at a tree on one of our other sites which was showing signs of disease.”

I thought this week I would start by running through one of the days I recently had, which highlights how varied the role of the ranger can be.

I started the day visiting a playground to reinstall a piece of damaged play equipment which had been in our workshop for several months waiting for the various replacement parts to arrive. It isn't unusual for members of the public to approach us during our weekly playground checks and ask how long it will take to repair or replace damaged play equipment which has been damaged.

The problem with most play equipment is that in many cases replacement parts need to come from the manufacturer and in some cases this can take several months. We also find on occasion that the parts are not available, and then the equipment needs to be removed or replaced if the money is available. As part of our role, all rangers are required to qualify as Outdoor Operational Inspectors, which enables us to carry out safety checks on playgrounds and become members of the Register of Play Inspectors International.

Whilst installing the piece of equipment at the playground I received a call asking me to look at a tree on one of our other sites which was showing signs of disease.

Another part of our duties are to carry out visual checks on trees across our patches and all rangers are Lantra-qualified in basic tree surveying and inspection. If we identify any issues with trees on our sites these are then referred to our arboriculture team for any further action.

On arrival it quickly became obvious that the tree in question was a Horse Chestnut which was suffering from leaf miner damage caused by a moth in the family Gracillariidae.

2022-07-20 - Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner damage

A quick check of the site discovered that one of the buildings had large and offensive graffiti sprayed along its side and some building rubble had been fly-tipped in the car park. This is something we often encounter on our sites and we then refer to the Council Cleansing Team with pictures to resolve the problems.

After finishing at this site, I moved to Cissbury Fields where I had planned to put up some information posters in the car parks. Whilst on the site I was approached by a dog walker who had encountered some cattle in one of the small woodlands on site and wasn't sure who to inform. Whilst it is hoped that in the long-term some form of grazing will take place there, at present the site doesn't have the fencing to prevent cattle from reaching the road and so I went to investigate.

On arrival, I was greeted by several cattle who were moving quickly towards nearby roads.

2022-07-20 - Cattle in Cissbury Fields

After several phone calls I discovered that the cattle had come from the National Trust land adjacent to our site. In the end I was joined by a Trust ranger and Trust volunteers along with two PCSOs and between us we managed to herd the cattle back up the hill and into their field.

Whilst not a completely normal day it does give an idea of some of the things that we as rangers might get involved in on a daily basis.

Graeme

Back to top or Back to other staff

15th June 2022: Sounds of the summer

Emily Ford, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Emily and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

“Other things to keep an eye out for are the many butterfly species that inhabit our green spaces.”

This week I am taking a look at how important wildlife is and, with numbers in decline, how we must preserve their natural habitat.

This time of year when walking through green spaces you can often hear the sounds of bird songs, the buzzing of bees and, if you're quiet enough, the chirping of grasshoppers hidden amongst the flowers and long grasses.

Did you know that there are 11 native species of grasshopper present in the UK and each species produces a different noise. So much so that, like birds, you can tell which species it is from the sound alone. Listen out for them as you walk through the paths around and in between patches of renaturing in your local green space.

Other things to keep an eye out for are the many butterfly species that inhabit our green spaces. They will appear quickly fluttering from flower to flower on sunny and still days. From the more common red admiral to the marbled white, there are more than 58 species of butterfly native to the UK, many of which can be found in Sussex.

Sadly, though, due to habitat loss and fragmentation the populations of many of these species has been steadily declining, which is why the creation of more habitats for them is so important with species such as the small tortoiseshell decreasing in population by a massive 80% in South East England since 1990.

Photo: Marbled white butterfly

2022-06-15 - Marbled white butterfly

When you think about bees, the first thing that comes to mind is often the Bumblebee. An easy-to-spot iconic insect of which there are 24 different species that live in the UK - all of which are social and live in colonies ranging from a few dozen to several hundred. You'll often see them buzzing away in between different types of flowers as they gather nectar and pollen to take back to the hives. Despite some common fears, the bumblebee is very unlikely to sting and will only do so when feeling threatened.

The renaturing of greenspaces is important to support insects by, not only creating more habitat for them, but also by creating corridors allowing them to travel between larger pieces of habitats that were once joined together, allowing for populations to expand and to mix between individual groups and sites and therefore helping to prevent local extinctions of species. This has a knock-on effect by supporting many other species as insects form the base for many food chains and are vital for the pollination of many types of flowers.

Back to top or Back to other staff

8th June 2022: The importance of chalk grasslands

Graeme Brooker, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Graeme and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

“Chalk grassland is one of the richest habitats found in the UK with potentially 40 plant species per square metre...”

In this week's blog I intend to revisit something I have previously discussed. Did you know that we are fortunate to have nearly 100 hectares of rare chalk grassland across Adur and Worthing, and although some areas are in a poor condition, they haven't yet reached the stage where they cannot be saved?

Chalk grassland is one of the richest habitats found in the UK with potentially 40 plant species per square metre and this high level of biodiversity has led to it being referred to as the “Rainforest of Europe”.

The most effective way to manage these sites is by grazing, and historically on the South Downs, this would have been carried out by sheep and rabbits. The sites that are owned by the Councils are popular dog walking areas and this means that sheep grazing is not practical. The intention is to mimic the effects of grazing livestock by using a variety of machine cutting techniques and in order to improve these sites the cut grass needs to be removed from the sites.

Unlike your garden which you might improve with compost and fertiliser, chalk grassland flower species need soil that is very low in nutrients. Traditionally sheep would graze on the grassland and then be 'folded away' at night in pens, meaning they removed the nutrients from the site leading to an increase in wildflowers.

One of the issues we have found during the first year of working to restore and improve our chalk grassland sites is the presence of large amounts of dog waste. These sites are our closest areas of countryside for many and rightly attract many users - something the Councils are keen to support. However, the presence of dog waste creates problems with managing the site.

I have already explained that the soil needs to be nutrient poor and this waste increases the soil nutrient value and changes the chemical balance. The biggest issue has been that dog waste is highly dangerous to livestock, and this has resulted in no farmers being willing to cut and take the hay. The intention had been to offer the hay to local farmers in return for cutting, baling and removing the hay.

Last season it cost the Council and the National Park several thousand pounds to have this work carried out. This money could have been used elsewhere on the site to help improve the habitat by sowing additional wildflower seed.

When talking with site users it is clear the majority of dog walkers are unaware of the dangers posed by dog waste to livestock. Whilst many people are aware of toxocara that it can lead to blindness in humans, they are unaware of another parasite carried by dogs called neospora caninum. Dogs are unaffected by this parasite, so owners will not know their dog is a carrier, but the parasite is the largest cause of miscarriage and stillbirth in cattle in the UK.

The parasite remains active for six months and consequently if the hay contains dog waste it is unusable for livestock. Additionally, once infected, the livestock cannot be cured and this usually results in the livestock being destroyed. This isn't only a local issue as a farmer in the New Forest who turned out 38 in calf heifers onto the forest had 18 heifers miscarry due to becoming infected by dog waste.

A positive for our chalk grassland sites is that Cissbury Fields has been chosen as a site suitable for payment from the Beelines project (on the South Downs National Park Trust website) and a bid has been made for £4,200 to purchase chalk grassland wildflower seed. Whilst this may seem a significant amount of money this will only purchase 24kg of seed. This is sufficient to resow 0.8 hectares and the aim is to restore 33 hectares on this site alone.

The majority of visitors to our sites will not have had the opportunity to experience chalk grassland in good condition and the myriad of flower and invertebrate species it supports, meaning that many are unaware the sites are in desperate need of habitat management. To illustrate this these pictures show the current condition of Cissbury Fields compared to how the sites would look if we are able to successfully restore them. These improvements not only make the site more pleasant to visit but also help increase pollinator numbers and increase carbon sequestration.

Photo: Cissbury Fields unrestored chalk grassland

2022-06-08 - Cissbury Fields unrestored chalk grassland

Photo: Restored chalk grassland

2022-06-08 - Restored chalk grassland

Back to top or Back to other staff

4th May 2022: Wildflowers in Bloom

Emily Ford, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Emily and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

Throughout our parks and green spaces, those with a keen eye may have spotted various wildflowers growing. The species of the wildflower will depend on the site and their location. Below are some common ones to keep an eye out for.

The dandelion: The bright yellow multi-petaled flower is often regarded by most to be a weed and undesirable, but I find they have a certain charm and light up an otherwise empty space. Well known for its large fluffy seed head which are used by children as a fun but not necessarily accurate way to tell the time, the dandelion is a great early source of nectar for pollinators being one of the most common early flowering plants.

2022-05-04 - Dandelion

Another common wildflower is the oxeye daisy - a staple of hay meadows that also thrives on roadsides and verges. The oxeye daisy is the largest of the British native daisies with the flowers growing to around 5cm in size. While the daisy looks like one big flower, the centre is actually made up of loads of small flowers which each have their own supply of nectar.

2022-05-04 - oxeye daisy

Forget Me Nots are a small blue flower with multiple varieties that flowers from April to June. Wood Forget Me Not and Meadow Forget Me Not thrive in various sites, but are most common in areas that used to be arable.

2022-05-04 - forget me not

The last wildflower I'll mention is the Common dog-Violet, is a pansy-like purple flower with dark green heart-shaped leaves that can be spotted from April to June in meadows, woodlands amongst other places. Unlike other violets the common dog-violet is unscented. This plant is highly important for many species of fritillary butterflies as this is what they lay their eggs on.

2022-05-04 - Common dog-Violet

Over the last few months alongside various community groups including the Friends of West park helped by the 2nd Worthing Scout group, Friends of Brooklands and Friends of Whitebeam woods we’ve been planting out wildflower seeds and plug plants to help boost the displays of wildflowers seen in our parks.

If you would like to find out more on our renaturing project, please visit the page below:

Back to top or Back to other staff

13th April 2022: Showcasing some of the wonderful work in our parks

Craig Ifield, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Craig and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

This week I would like to take the opportunity to showcase some of the wonderful work that has been taking place in my patch of Adur and Worthing, which is Brooklands (photo below) to Shoreham Beach including Lancing and Sompting.

PR22-034 - Brooklands Park, Worthing

I would like to say a massive well done to the Bees&Seas project team at Brooklands as they won the Bees' Needs Championship. This Defra-established award works in partnership with Green Flag Awards, CFE and the Nature Friendly Farming Network.

It is designed to 'celebrate examples of the best practice in all areas of pollinator work' and recognise 'exemplary initiatives undertaken by local authorities, community groups, farmers and businesses to support pollinators'.

The team was one of 21 winners of the award in the Local Community section. The works of We are Food Pioneers, Friends of Brooklands, Creative Waves and the Ranger team have worked hard to complete phase one of the plan and got the site prepared for the bee hives, new containers and reading the site for various activities.

Phase two this summer follows on from the three-day Bee Weekend that was run last summer, attracting 400-plus visitors, with games, activities, plays and stalls. This is a very exciting project that will be a great addition to this park.

Photo: The Worthing Honey Collective preparing Honey Bees for delivery to their new home at the Brooklands Apiary

PR21-112 - The Worthing Honey Collective busy preparing Honey Bees for delivery to their new home

The Friends of Malthouse Meadow, who are working very hard clearing more brambles, opening up the meadow and enriching the site, deserve lots of praise. While I would also like to say a big thank you to the hardest workers on the site - the sheep, which are cared for and looked after by the local community and owner Leighton alongside the Ranger who help with the health checks of the sheep.

I am very excited to see how well this site does in the summer and the group can reap the benefits of what their work has sowed this year. There has also been an additional 32 trees planted on the site, the majority of which are fruit and nut trees all funded for by the Tree Council in partnership with Network Rail community fund.

Last of all, Sompting is getting a new playground. This is made possible by the partnership funding with Big Sompting Local (SBL). Work lasting seven weeks starts after the Easter break. During this process SBL, Adur and Worthing Ranger team and engineers worked with the local school and community to have their say on what they wanted to see in their playground. See Press release: Funding boost delivers new play park in Sompting

PR22-079 - Following a consultation with the local community, the playground was identified as in need of modernisation

It is lovely to see the great work community groups have made in recent months and if you wish to get involved in your local green space please contact:

Back to top or Back to other staff

30th March 2022: Take only memories, leave only footprints

Emily Ford, Park Ranger

Hi - my name is Emily and I am the blogger of the week from the Park Rangers' Team.

As the weather warms, I'm sure like us more people will be spending their free time out in parks and greenspaces, as well as enjoying the South Downs that surround us. It's therefore important that everyone who uses those spaces takes care of them to keep them open for all in the future.

The Countryside Code is advice for people to follow when they are out in the countryside, to encourage them to respect the land, aid enjoyment and help everyone stay safe in the great outdoors.

A key part of looking after the countryside and enjoying it responsibly is knowing what sites are open access – meaning there are no footpaths but you are free to roam – and which sites are not open access – when you have to stick to the footpaths.

Sticking to footpaths not only means you don't damage crops, but you also help to protect various wildlife that live on farmland such as lapwings and skylarks, which are ground nesting birds so can be flushed from nests by people going too close and even trampling on them.

Photo: Lapwings and skylarks are ground nesting birds - please watch your feet

2022-03-30 - Lapwing (Pixabay - 6601790)

It is also important to use the gates and stiles in place to access and cross footpaths, preventing damage to fencing that could then allow livestock out of enclosures and place them in danger. It is important to make sure that you leave gates as you find them, if a gate is open then it has likely been left open for a reason, possibly to allow for livestock to access water and shade or in crop fields.

Also, when parking on roads and in car parks, please ensure you are not blocking gates as this causes a problem not just for the access of land managers but also for the access of emergency services onto sites. Many times in the summer we have driven on to a green site only to find ourselves trapped because someone has parked across our access point.

An important part of the Countryside Code is keeping your dogs under control, including keeping your dogs on lead around farm animals, on country roads and around heavy machinery. This is not only for your own safety, but the safety of the animals and livestock.

Photo: Cows at Cissbury Ring, Worthing

2022-03-30 - Cows at Cissbury Ring, Worthing

Many sites are highly prone to fires in the summer months, even the smallest of sparks can set off a major incident in grasslands or on heathlands. This is why it's important to follow all bylaws in place on a site, particularly those pertaining to the use of barbeques. It is advisable to not even smoke in certain areas.

A common phrase you may have heard before is "take only memories, leave only footprints". This is used to reflect the need of users of public spaces to leave natural spaces as you find them, don't uproot plants or pick flowers, unless you have permission from the landowner, if you take them then no one else can enjoy them. It's also important not to leave anything behind, make sure to take anything you bring with you home or into an appropriate bin, if the bins are full then again… take it home.

A few simple changes to how you use a space can make all the difference in keeping access to the countryside available for all, and help to keep it enjoyable and safe for every user of a space.

Photo: Walkers at Lancing Ring

2022-03-30 - Walkers at Lancing Ring

Back to top or Back to other staff

About our Park Ranger bloggers:

Our Rangers are listed below - and at the bottom of the page is a map of the areas the Rangers cover.

Anthony Read:

Anthony Read, Park Ranger

Anthony is the Head Ranger for Adur & Worthing Councils.

 

Craig Ifield:

Craig Ifield, Park Ranger

Craig is a Park Ranger at Adur & Worthing Councils. His main role is to maintain our parks and open spaces. This includes working with green space volunteer community groups across Adur and Worthing helping them with various projects and supporting them in developing their groups.

Craig's background is with The Conservation Volunteers charity as a project officer working to enable communities in Adur and Worthing to improve their health and wellbeing.

Adam Scott:

Adam Scott, Park Ranger

Adam has worked for the Councils for over 16 years - with the majority of his time spent in parks and playgrounds. Adam says:

“Hi everyone, my name's Adam Scott I'm a Park Ranger in the Worthing area. I really enjoy trying to make the experiences people have in our parks and open spaces good ones, whether that's working with community groups to improve them, or consulting the public about new ideas and equipment that we can provide to enhance people's quality of life in our local area.”

Graeme Brooker:

Graeme Brooker, Park Ranger

Graeme has a background in countryside management. Graeme says:

“Having grown up in Worthing, much of my childhood was spent in the surrounding countryside and I grew up with a passion for the outdoors. I'm fortunate that my 'patch' includes several green spaces that fall within the South Downs National Park.”

Emily Ford:

Emily Ford, Park Ranger

Emily says:

“I am a Leisure Attendant within the parks department, where I help to manage the allotments and parks. Before I worked for the Council I was an intern for the RSPB and have a background in nature conservation and ecology.”

Keith Walder:

Keith Walder, Park Ranger

Keith says:

“I am the Park Ranger for the Adur District, east of the River Adur.”

 

Map:

Below is a map of the wider area, showing you the patches each Ranger covers. They will be the person to get in touch with regarding any park or green space within their patch.

2021-03-31 - Park Ranger areas in Adur and Worthing

  1. 1 - Anthony Read
  2. 2 - Adam Scott
  3. 3 - Graeme Brooker
  4. 4 - Craig Ifield
  5. 5 - Keith Walder

Park Rangers - by a boat planter in Brooklands Park

Park Rangers - by Brooklands Lake

Back to top or Back to other staff

Page last updated: 05 August 2022

Back to top