Emma cuts a celebration Caterpillar cake for 'crafty' children in Cranbrook Country Park

East Devon District Council Ranger has been working in Cranbrook Country Park for three years. Countryside ranger Emma Jones runs a range of events, and activities with Cranbrook residents to help people make the most of the green spaces on their doorstep.

East Devon District Council Ranger has been working in Cranbrook Country Park for three years

Countryside ranger Emma Jones runs a range of events, and activities with Cranbrook residents to help people make the most of the green spaces on their doorstep.

Over the last three years the New Community Consortium, which owns Cranbrook Country Park, and East Devon District Council’s Countryside team have worked closely together to promote the countryside in and around the new town.

The outdoor events programme is very popular, and activities such as bird box making and wildlife gardening help people learn more about local wildlife and how to encourage wildlife into their gardens. Other events such as Easter craft and challenges, dragonfly and spring flower walks are also enjoyed by many local residents.

Emma works with St Martins Primary School on a regular basis to take groups of children into the Country Park to explore and learn about their natural environment and she has also been involved with the Cranbrook Cubs and Brownie groups. Emma has also established the tradition of ‘wassailling’ in the Cranbrook Orchard, an ancient Devon tradition to encourage a bumper harvest. The orchard has been supported by a team of dedicated volunteers who weed the grass, prune branches and keep an eye on the trees.

Emma said:

Over the last three years I’ve been made to feel very welcome by this very special community and the people I meet are lovely.

Having access to green space is crucial for people’s health and wellbeing, and the Countryside team’s annual calendar of events encourages local people to enjoy the park right on their doorstep.

We are really looking forward to the next stage of the Country Park coming in the future. It will extend from the Cranny Bridge to Cranbrook Education Campus, so will provide lots of interesting walks for children on their way to and from school.

When completed, the whole Country Park will be 35 hectares or the size of 35 rugby pitches.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, East Devon District Council’s Deputy Leader and executive spokesman for strategic partnerships, said:

I wish Emma many congratulations on her third anniversary helping Cranbrook residents experience their special Country Park. Residents enjoy lots of different activities in the beautiful countryside right on their doorstep, as well as keeping fit and well.

We know people move to Cranbrook because it’s the ‘town in the country’, and there will be even more space to enjoy when the next phase opens.

Kevin Blakey, Chairman of Cranbrook Town Council, said:

The Country Park Ranger provides an invaluable resource to the town - be it by helping to organise community events or finding new ways of encouraging residents and visitors to enjoy the great outdoors. We hope that the role can continue for many years to come because having a dedicated resource managing a sizeable public open space and promoting its use is pivotal in making sure it is utilised to its full potential and everyone benefits from the Country Park.

There are more events planned for Cranbrook in the latest Countryside spring/summer events guide which can be viewed at wildeastdevon.co.uk or picked up from the Younghayes Centre.

Following last year’s success Emma is working with Keith Johnson from Action East Devon to develop a second Cranbrook Fun Run which will take place on Saturday 16 September, as well as a summer holiday orienteering route.

Emma works with a range of partners including Devon County Council, Active Devon, Sustrans, LED, Environment Agency, National Trust, Cranbrook Town Council, Action East Devon, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point Team and many more.  These partnerships have enabled a wide range of events and activities to take place.

To find out more about the East Devon Countryside team please visit wildeastdevon.co.uk, or contact the team on: 01395 517557.