The National Trust cares for some of our most cherished places, landscapes and wildlife habitats on the Northumberland Coast including Lindisfarne Castle, The Farne Islands, the two inland sites of Ros Castle and St Cuthbert's Cave, and over 12 miles of stunning coast over a forty mile stretch. These include St Aidan's dunes at Seahouses, Beadnell lime kilns, Craster to Low Newton (including Dunstanburgh Castle and Embleton Bay), Buston Links at Alnmouth and Druridge Bay.
At the beginning of each year we take on a team of seasonal Assistant Rangers, to be supplemented over the summer months by an additional team that give us the numbers we need to open two islands to visitors and complete all our essential monitoring work. The summer intake of rangers
are already now established across the islands so they are certainly due an
introduction. They are Chris Lockyer, Claire Boothby, Molly Heal, Tom Hibbert
and Rhian Davies.Together they
bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from a variety of backgrounds.
Before coming to the Farnes
Chris was working with Wildscapes, in partnership with the National Trust,
restoring the degraded moorland in the Peak District. While doing this he was
also volunteering with the Sheffield Wildlife Trust and working as a rock
Claire has been working for
the National Trust at Polesden Lacey for three years, whilst completing an
undergraduate degree in Ecology during her evenings. She has been a trainee
bird ringer for the last year and has been looking forward to the experience of
the breeding season on the Farnes.
Molly has loved seabirds,
islands and island life since working on Skokholm in 2012. She studied in
Newcastle and is delighted to be back in the North East.
Since graduating from Bangor
University, Tom has been monitoring seabirds both at home and abroad, from auks
in East Yorkshire to tropical birds in the Seychelles. Last year he worked for
the National Trust on the Northumberland Coast's Little Tern breeding site at the Long Nanny near Beadnell.
Previously Rhian worked as a
Ranger for the Scottish Wildlife Trust and as Information Assistant for the
RSPB, showing people Common Seals in Teeside. Most recently she worked for
Sustrans and Living Streets, promoting cycling and walking in schools.
They have all been getting
stuck in to island life, including seabird monitoring, chatting to visitors and
all the tasks associated with the upkeep of an island for wildlife and
To keep up to date with how they, and the rest of
the rangers are getting on, follow them on twitter @NTFarneIslands and of
course come and visit in person with a trip to the Farne Islands. June is the perfect time to visit.
May is nearly over and spring is trying its best here in
Northumberland despite the occasional hail showers. Flowers are blooming, trees
are finally in leaf and for the ranger team it is the start of another Tern
breeding season. Every year, thousands of shore birds nest on the Long Nanny
spit, just south of Beadnell, and since 1977 National Trust rangers have worked to protect the
site and birds that breed there.
Both staff and volunteers have been hard at work over the last
few weeks setting up the site: strimming vegetation, installing signs, putting up electric fences to deter predators,
erecting the toilet sheds and, most importantly, making sure our five new seasonal
rangers have settled into what will be their home for the next three months.
Over the summer the team will be camping in the dunes, providing a 24 hour watch to protect the nesting birds from predators while welcoming visitors to the site. It is well worth a visit; a short walk from
either Beadnell or High Newton will bring you to the viewing platform where one
of the rangers will be there to answer any questions.
The birds haven’t wasted any time getting settled and more nests are
appearing every day. It is all we can do to keep up with them. The team have
been busy raising Little Tern nests onto fishing crates to help protect them
from the recent high tides and Ringed Plover nests have been adorned with wire
mesh covers to protect the eggs from crows and other predating birds.
Last year the site was home to 2443 pairs of Arctic Terns, and 30 pairs of Little Terns, making the site one of the great conservation stories on the Northumberland Coast. Our dedicated team of National Trust rangers are there to help ensure a successful breeding season for all the site's birds, and in particular, one of the country's most endangered species, the Little Tern.
Fingers crossed the birds will have another successful year.