South Downs ranger service celebrates 30 years

The South Downs Volunteer Ranger Service (VRS) is celebrating 30 years of service. Founded in 1981, the VRS was set up to protect the coast of East Sussex.

Over the years, membership has increased dramatically and the South Downs Volunteer Range Service now has more than 300 volunteers working throughout the new South Downs National Park and almost 20 partnership organisations.

Their 30th birthday was celebrated with more than 60 volunteers at their annual meeting at Pulborough Village Hall.

Margaret Paren, chairman of the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), made presentations to volunteers with over ten years service.

“The volunteer rangers work tirelessly to protect, conserve and enhance the beautiful countryside around us,” she said.

The VRS contributed 5700 volunteer days last year, doing vital maintenance and monitoring work, helping in area offices as well as providing advice and guidance to visitors.

Typical outdoor tasks include chalk grassland and heathland conservation, scrub clearance, woodland management, hedge laying, improving public access and surveys of flora and fauna. Volunteers also get involved with office- based projects.