One of the best ways to see the Peak District is through organised walks. These walks are led by park rangers who have significant experience hiking in the Peak District and have an in depth knowledge of the area. Rangers are also qualified first aiders and can ensure that visitors to the park can hike in the safest manner possible.
Peak District National Park Authority rangers organise and participate in more than 150 walks each year. Members of the public are free to join these walks. There are a range of different walks available which range in difficulty, and hence suitability of those who wish to embark upon them. Some of the best walks available for those who wish to improve their navigational skills are the Navigation training walks. These walks will train participants in competent usage of maps and compasses so they can later explore the area on their own.
Most of the walks available will take up most of the day, so participants are advised to bring a number of provisions. These include adequate food for a day in the hills, as well as drinking water. Those who do not wish to carry large amounts of drinking water may wish to collect water from streams, though purification tablets are highly recommended. Sturdy walking boots are also required, as well as appropriate clothing based on weather conditions. Peak District national park rangers reserve the right to refuse to take participants should they fail to come properly prepared. Dogs are also allowed if they are on leads, and all walks comply with restrictions on private land. Find some of the walks here.
One of the most strenuous walks available is the Hard Dales Hike, which takes place on the 3rd of March. This walk is 10 miles in length and provides those who take part with the opportunity of witnessing some of the most beautiful areas in the White Peak Dales. Participants of this walk must meet at Tideswell Dale picnic site at 10.30 am, with the hike ending at 4.30pm.
Those who wish to contribute to the successful running of the Peak District may wish to serve as a ranger. Ranger’s have worked within the park since 1954, when just one warden was selected to look after certain access areas within the park. More individuals were recruited in 1974, and wardens became responsible for the whole of the park, with their title changing to ranger. The park is now divided into 14 areas of which each are managed by a ranger. There is also a ranger for the Pennine way as well as a further 300 volunteer rangers.
The main purpose for the existence of rangers, as well as the main motivation for those who wish to become rangers is to provide a point of contact between local people and visitors. Ranger’s primary roles include leading walks, looking after wildlife and educating people about the park as a whole. Rangers work with all primary schools within the park to help teach children about national park safety and the preservation of the park.
One of the most important areas of a rangers work involves countryside safety. The weather conditions within the Peak District are often unpredictable and catch many visitors out each year. Ranger’s help redirect those who have become lost, as well as working with the emergency services to extract casualties from the park. Fire safety is also taught to visitors who are advised to take home cigarette butt’s. Rangers also fight moorland fires and visitors who witness unattended fires are advised to contact them as soon as possible.