Header ranger says goodbye

BRANSCOMBE’S National Trust head ranger is moving on.

Stuart Britton, 34, took up the post in September 2006, having joined the Trust in 1994 on its careership scheme.

He was taken on as a warden on the North Devon coast, spending six months at Arlington Court then six months at Woolacombe beach, looking after the Ilfracombe to Croyde stretch of coastline. The job was formalised, and Stuart spent several years there before taking the Branscombe position.

“I was happy at Woolacombe, I love that bit of coastline, but needed a new challenge and when the head ranger opportunity arose I jumped at it,” he said.

Stuart took charge of 2,000 acres of East Devon coastline. Four months in, the MSC Napoli grounded at Branscombe beach. He said: “After seeing the pretty, sleepy village turn into chaos, I wondered what have I landed myself with here?”

With groups including the East Devon AONB and the Branscombe Project, Stuart has worked on projects such as the Branscombe Primary School footpath link, an easy access footpath at Salcombe Hill, and the Weston Potato Plats project.

“It’s a hard decision to move on, but I’m an outdoors man and need to be outdoors more than the current role allows,” he said.

Most Read

Stuart is setting up his own countryside contracting service, undertaking anything from hedge laying to survey work. He, wife Heather and daughter Holly, three, plan to move into the Blackdown Hills.

“It’s a change for us all, but it’s something I need to do,” he said. “It will give me more time with the family, as I’m currently spending a lot of time at meetings and getting the work-life balance is proving tricky.”

Stuart is in post until Christmas Eve, and said anyone who’d like to pop in for a farewell chat is welcome.