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Wales Online
Wales Online
Ellie Forbes & Steven Smith

Chance to be the 'Lone Ranger' of Snowdonia opens up for first time in 40 years

A dream job earning £30,000 working in a mountain range has opened up – after the 'Lone Ranger' who worked there for nearly 40 years retired. The job working for the Ysbyty Estate in Snowdonia is on offer after Andrew Roberts, 60, stepped down as lead ranger – after becoming the longest-serving in the job in Wales.

He started working on the remote 20,000-acre estate in April 1983 as an assistant forester and went on to single-handedly establish a Celtic rainforest. In recent years Andrew began caring for 29 Welsh mountain ponies that graze the hills - and was nicknamed the 'Lone Ranger' after buying a horse in 2016. The National Trust is now looking for someone to take over the role, which will include fencing, dry-stone walling, tree planting, and peatland restoration.

An ad for the job states: “This is a unique opportunity to lead our ranger team on the Ysbyty estate, delivering benefits for people and nature on one of the largest agricultural estates in the National Trust. The predecessor of this role is retiring and is our longest-serving ranger in Wales, having worked with us for 39 years. If you’re all about delivering great conservation alongside inspiring people through your leadership then this is the role for you.”

General manager for Snowdonia at National Trust Cymru, Trystan Edwards, said: “This role is a fantastic opportunity for someone who’s an inspirational leader and a passionate, experienced nature conservationist. You’ll be leading and supporting your team of rangers to deliver practical maintenance and conservation work across the estate; from fencing and dry-stone walling to tree safety, tree planting, and peatland restoration. We’re looking for a people person with a heart for the Ysbyty community, and you’ll share our conservation work with a wide range of people through events, guided walks and more.”

Over four decades Andrew planted two oak woodlands on the estate and watched his 7,000 trees mature. In his final week with the Trust, Andrew visited both woodlands to find polypody ferns growing on some of the trees – a key indicators of a Celtic rainforest.

These are thought to be more threatened than tropical rainforests, providing ideal habitat for plants, lichens, fungi and rain-loving wildlife. For Andrew’s retirement bash, more than 30 farmers gathered at Ysbyty Ifan village hall to reminisce over old times.

Andrew Roberts, lead ranger, doing his final checks of the horses on Ffridd Ty Coch (National Trust Images/SWNS)

He said: “Community is such an important part of the role; I consider many tenants as good friends. We have a common goal, and so working well together is key.

“I’ve learned how important it is to listen and surround yourself with people you can learn from. Farms and knowledge have been passed on through generations of families, and I've been fortunate enough to absorb some of this.

“Take place names for example, they are taught and passed down through generations of farmers, and over 40 years I’ve been lucky to learn most on the estate. I would like to thank all the tenants, past and present for their support of the years, there’s been many jobs that wouldn’t have been possible without them, but more so my 40 years wouldn’t have been so enjoyable.

“I’m grateful to the Trust for supporting my career and giving me the opportunity to make a difference on the Ysbyty Estate. I couldn’t have imagined doing anything else and it’ll be hard to let it go, but I’ll always have a connection with the people and places of Ysbyty.”

Mr Edwards added: “Andrew leaves a terrific legacy on the Ysbyty Estate, and from a conservation perspective it is in far better condition now than when he started his mission. But his real success has to be in the way he’s managed to do this in conjunction with our tenants and by bringing value to the community. His work isn’t over though – he can focus on his own flock of sheep now and help gathering – both great passions in his life; Diolch Andrew.”

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