In the second of our conversations with the National Trust’s outdoor experts, she talks of her love for the outdoors, why the Farne Islands are one of David Attenborough’s favourite wildlife areas in the UK, and shares her favourite of Northumberland’s lesser-known spots.
A TYPICAL DAY
There isn’t one. I often spend the morning meeting with rangers and talking through how we might make the area better for nature and for our visitors. In the afternoon, I may take a trip to the Farne Islands to catch-up with the pioneering rangers who live there, plus the 200,000 sea birds that call the island home in the summer.
WHY WORK OUTDOORS?
I studied a BSc in Zoology and then an MSC in Wildlife Conservation and Management. I’ve worked on urban wetland reserves and in environmental education for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I then spent a few years in Scotland studying insects and black grouse before becoming a National Trust Ranger in Wales. Essentially, I am passionate about protecting our wildlife and helping other to appreciate and enjoy it. We’re so lucky in this country to have such diversity in our ecosystems, from bottlenose dolphins to peregrine falcons. For me, everything great about life has nature at its core – from art to literature and music to memories, travel and childhood.
HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF NATURE.
It’s important to walk often, and get to know your local area and the nature around you. It could be anything from a neglected corner of the garden to your local woodland, it’s important to explore and familiarise yourself with nature.
WHY THE NORTHUMBERLAND COAST AND FARNE ISLANDS?
It’s the least populated coast in England – that means wildlife galore and lots of quiet spots.
THE BEST VIEWPOINT.
From Low Newton-by-the-Sea to Dunstanburgh you go through dunes and then rocky crags with the epic ruins of Dunstanburgh castle on the horizon.
WHERE TO WALK.
St Cuthbert’s Cave, near Belford. This isn’t on the coast but is a lovely quiet wood, with lots of birds of prey nearby and a cave at the centre. Behand the cave at the top of the hill on a clear day there is an incredible view of Holy Island, the Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle and Dunstanburgh Castle.
WHERE TO FIND WILDLIFE.
The Farne Islands are one of David Attenborough’s favourite UK wildlife spots. Grey seals, puffins and fluffy fulmar chicks are the obvious draws, and, if you want somewhere wild and rugged with the best possible puffin and fulmar views, I’d recommend Staple Island on a summer morning – watch the weather before you sail, though.
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