Meet Ben Coleman, a member of Warwickshire County Council’s park ranger team.
Fairly recently, Ben was promoted to Habitat Specialist Ranger for Grasslands and is now responsible for improving this vital habitat across the Warwickshire Country Parks portfolio. Ben is based at Ryton Pools, a park located between Leamington, Coventry and Rugby. It is a vast site, made up of 100 acres of woodland, grassland and of course the pools themselves. It also has two play areas for children, a miniature railway, and a café.
Ben’s role can vary on a day-to-day basis. One day he can be looking at ways to improve the grassland habitat of a park, and the next he could be fixing fences or organising visitor events.
“I love getting out and seeing our visitors enjoying the park. Science has consistently proven that being outside can have positive effects on our wellbeing and mental health, so seeing people spending time in the parks we work hard to upkeep is both satisfying and rewarding”.
Ben has always had a real enthusiasm for the environment and loves his job at the County Council. It is, in his opinion, “the best job in the world, so much so that he has been working in Country Parks for 13 years. He is particularly interested in the conservation side of the role, and increasing biodiversity is a big passion of his. He really enjoys surveying the site and seeing what animals live there. Ryton Pools is under Higher-level Stewardship, an agri-environment scheme* administered by Natural England, which brings income into the park and enables the team to constantly improve it for wildlife. In addition, Ben works closely with Warwickshire’s ecology department on Grassland biodiversity net gain projects. Current legislation stipulates if developers seek to build in a way which destroys habitats, they must either repair that habitat elsewhere at their own cost or pay a compensatory amount for reparation to the relevant planning authority.
One of Bens passions is moth conservation. Here he can be seen checking the contents of a moth trap before recording and releasing the moths.
Despite it being 13 years ago, Ben still remembers how he got the job. Having done a degree in Environmental Science at university, he then went on to achieve an NVQ in conservation management after realising he needed some more practical experience. He saw the job of assistant ranger at WCC advertised and immediately applied and he says he “hasn’t looked back since”.
Ben loves his job and says that “Warwickshire County Council is a really brilliant place to work”, and that he is thrilled to be part of an exceptional team. “Working for the council, you feel truly valued and that the management team go out of their way to check in on you and make sure things are going well." He really likes how information is shared and that there are regular updates from the heads of each directorate. He added that “people frequently come and volunteer with us and never leave. It’s a very worthwhile organisation to work for, that offers excellent benefits. There are plenty of opportunities for progression and it’s a really secure environment to work in.
* Agri-environment schemes provide funding to farmers and land managers to farm in a way that supports biodiversity, enhances the landscape, and improves the quality of water, air and soil.