The Peak District is the oldest national park in the UK, and is also the oldest park to have had a warden service which has evolved into the current ranger service. The warden service began in 1954 which at the time consisted of just one warden who was aided by several volunteers. An expansion in the number of wardens came in 1974 were several more wardens were appointed and their role expanded to looking after the whole of the park.
Nowadays rangers are responsible for an area within the national park, with the Peak District having 14 separate areas. Each of these areas has its own area ranger, with a number of volunteers working under the area ranger. There are also a number of rangers appointed for specialist roles within the park which include a Pennine Way ranger.
Rangers have a diverse role within the park with their job including the maintenance of footpaths and bridleways, looking after wildlife as well as promoting understanding of the park. Rangers interact with a number of different people and services in their job which includes farmers, emergency services, landowners and ecologists.
Rangers help people better understand the park by improving and promoting public access to the park. This ensures that people can traverse as many of the footpaths and bridleways throughout the park as possible. Rangers work with landowners to carry out repairs of paths, as well as installing footbridges and turn styles to ensure people can traverse the land in the most suitable manner. Rangers are also enthusiasts and their job is helped by their extensive knowledge of the park.
One of the ways in which the park is preserved is through the protection of ecosystems and the habitat of animals. Rangers carry out conservation work throughout the park whilst working closely with ecologists to help promote biodiversity. A range of other groups also help rangers preserve the park and include archaeologists tasked with protecting ancient sites and promoting public access to them.
The economy of the Peak District is heavily dependent on tourism, with millions of people visiting the park each year. Rangers set out to advise visitors to the park in all aspects of their stay as well as providing guided walks for those less experienced in hiking. Rangers are all qualified first aiders and have extensive knowledge of the park and the local area, making them the perfect guides to help people enjoy the park.
The Peak Districts height and remoteness means that the Peak District is prone to extreme weather. The most troublesome of this extreme weather is snowfall in the winter months which can cut off entire communities. Rangers help promote access in the winter months as well as working closely with emergency services to ensure that fires are prevented and tackled in the summer months. Rangers also help resolve issues between visitors to the park and landowners. Common ways they do this is by ensuring that footpaths are well marked so that visitors stay on them as opposed to straying onto private land.