Exploring the Peak District and Volunteering with National Park Rangers
A sunny Saturday morning (5 May) in Hathersage village saw around 30 Chevening Scholars arrive for an exciting day with some Peak District National Parks rangers.
Co-organized by the Peak District National Park and Chevening Alumna Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy, Chevening Scholars had a chance to explore the Peak District area and to be volunteers for the Peak District National Park through dry-stone walling in the Stanage and North Lees estate.
The Peak District is one of 15 national parks in the UK, and it covers parts of the counties of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire, and Cheshire. The size of the Peak District is around 555 square miles (1,438 square kilometres). Under National Park authority, the Peak District area is looked after by several full-time and part-time (volunteer) rangers.
Our Chevening Alumna, Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy is also recognized as one of the national park rangers. In order to be a ranger, you have to join a special training programme to pass all the requirements. Some knowledge on general environmental issues, nature conservation, and cultural heritage, as well as skills for being an educator, are acquired before a ranger takes the role.
The exploration began by walking from Hathersage village to the Stanage and North Lees estate. Along the walking route, scholars were excited and taking lots of pictures of the beauty of this Peak District area. It is understandable as they don’t see such magnificent scenery every day in their cities of study. The weather was just too perfect for photos!
In the middle of the walk, scholars and rangers took a short break to have lunch. The place for lunch chosen by the rangers was also very nice as it was by the river. Nothing can beat such enjoyment to relax under the trees next to the river on a sunny day!
As scholars arrived to the Stanage and North Lees estate, the volunteering started. The Peak District rangers explained about the process of dry-stone walling. This technique is used at major national parks and also in public farms since it’s believed as the best way to do. Before starting, scholars have to use gloves as a safety requirement. Hand in hand, stone by stone, the work was finally done and resulted in the satisfying form of strong stone wall.
To finish, scholars delivered their gratitude to Peak District rangers and to our Chevening Alumna, Dr Chamu Kuppuswamy, for sacrificing their time to facilitate the day, in which it’s supposed to be a long weekend due to the early May bank holiday.