Our holidays have the magic of the forest at their heart and there is one group of very special people who bring that magic to life for our guests - our Forest Rangers.
At each of our locations, the Forest Ranger is your expert on everything to do with the forest! From the bugs that check-in to the bug hotel, to the shy wildlife that comes out at night. We think of them as our forest ambassadors and they are the people who will make your Forest Holiday a truly memorable experience, connecting you with the natural world.
Get back to nature
You can join your Forest Ranger for a variety of exciting adventures. The 4 core activities we offer are:
1. Forest Night Vision
Witness the forest come to life at night with state of the art night vision equipment. Venture out under the watchful guidance of your Forest Ranger to catch a sound, or glimpse, of the nocturnal forest wildlife. Patience and stealth are key and may be rewarded with heart-stopping encounters you will remember forever.
2. Forest Survival – 90 minute taster or half-day expert sessions
Could you survive alone in the forest? In the 90 minute session learn about the fundamentals of outdoor survival: shelter, water, fire, and food - and how to make yourself an al fresco hot chocolate on a cold night!
Join the half-day session to learn about the rule of 3's and test your survival skills. Leave armed with your Guide to Forest Survival and a free fire steel – ready for any emergency.
3. Mini Forest Ranger (for the little ones)
Introduce your children to the wonder of nature with a Forest Ranger-led walk, hunting for bugs, tracking animals, and collecting sticks, feathers, and leaves for a craft session back at the Forest Retreat. Their Mini Forest Ranger badge and certificate will show they have taken their first steps in their Forest Ranger training.
4. Forest Explorer
If you do nothing else, make sure you do this! Your Forest Ranger will take you on a journey of discovery through the forest and shares natural, and local, knowledge with you – where the best trails are, the names of the trees and flowers, and of course, the best route to the local pub!
In addition to the activities above, some of our locations run sessions which reflect the Forest Rangers' passions or the quirks of the local area. For instance, at Deerpark, Martin runs a Geology Rockhound activity, and Explosive Mines of Deerpark, which looks at the history of the local area.
Meet our Forest Rangers
The enthusiasm of our Forest Rangers is genuine and catching. Each has their own passions and interests and you cannot help but be drawn into their world. Meet our Forest Rangers:
• Martin at Deerpark: a qualified geologist who has a passion for the natural, and social, history of the area.
• Jack at Strathyre, who is an ex-army outdoor adventurer, is well-known in the local area of Callander and doubles as 'The Picnic Butler'.
• Andy at Ardgartan Argyll also works for our partners, the Forestry Commission. He knows almost everything there is to know about the forest!
• Charlie at Thorpe Forest has a background in outdoor education, loves badgers, and has climbed an active volcano!
• Gerry at Forest of Dean, (with his resident owl, the Professor), raises money for the Hedgehog Preservation Society and his enthusiasm for nature will sweep you along.
• David and Gail at Blackwood Forest: David is our innovator, testing new technology such as our Night Vision equipment, and Gail can usually be found counting bats, studying slow worms, or monitoring wax caps on field surveys.
• Robin at Cropton, who is a keen wildlife photographer with an abiding love of the North Yorkshire Moors.
• Howard at Keldy has joined us only recently and is an outdoor survival specialist, keen to share his survival tips.
• John at Sherwood Forest: an expert on fungi and foraging and who, in his spare time, is a radio presenter, piano, and organ player - and used to be a stuntman. Expect to be entertained!
We consider ourselves blessed that these ambassadors of nature work for Forest Holidays. There is no job description that would fit them accurately because this job is in their blood. They each bring their own magic to the role of Forest Ranger and they each take immense pleasure in sharing that magic. As Gerry at Forest of Dean said when we asked him to tell us his favourite thing about being a Forest Ranger:
"It’s the 'wow' moments. When guests hear the bark of a Roe Deer across the forest, or realise how many stars they can see in the night sky, or even when they hold the Professor – often the first time they have ever seen a real owl, let alone held one."
Book your forest adventure
When you book your Forest Holiday, book a Forest Ranger activity too. This is more than simply something to fill a few pleasurable hours, it is a way to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the life of one of our greatest natural assets – our magnificent forests.