Ham Hill welcomes new Countryside Ranger

Released On 18th Jul 2023

Ham Hill welcomes new Countryside Ranger

The post at Ham Hill Country Park is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Geoff Rowland will help deliver a wide range of improvements and activities.  The appointment will help deliver the ‘Uncovering Ham Hill’s Past for its Future’ project which will preserve the heritage-rich landscape, and conserve habitats and species.  The £1.6m project also includes a brand-new purpose-built visitor centre, extra ranger support, and an exciting four-year activity plan of public events, community group workshops and school visits.

Geoff is a keen geologist, who has lectured at Strode College and previously led a team of volunteers to repair the drystone walls at Ham Hill.  He will join site rangers, Paul McNeill, and James Boyland for a three-year contract. His main role will be to deliver the landscape and habitat management works, although his deep understanding of the geology of the site means he is able to help tell the story of Ham Hill's geological importance.

Geoff said: “I'm fascinated by how the unique 180-million-year-old (Early Jurassic) geology of Ham Hill underpins its landscape, archaeology, history, industry, agriculture, and biodiversity, together with the character of the surrounding villages. I’m particularly interested in how geological understanding can support the practical conservation management and appreciation of this outstanding site. 

“I am thrilled to be part of Ham Hill’s exciting future.”

Kirsty Larkins, Somerset Council Director for Climate and Sustainability said: “We are delighted to welcome Geoff to the Ham Hill Team. His appointment is another milestone on our journey to bring the ‘Uncover Ham Hill’s Past for its Future’ project to the people of Somerset. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge and will be a great asset to the team.”

Head Ranger at Ham Hill, Paul McNeill said: “I’m really looking forward to working with Geoff on this exciting project. He will be working with the team to improve site navigation, repair erosion, clearance of scrub across the monument, creation of flower-rich margins, and further restoration of the drystone walls. He also has a real passion for geology and I’m sure he’ll be doing some walks & talks to underpin the importance of Ham Hill’s geology too.”

Ham Hill is a 173-hectare stunning wildlife haven centred around an Iron Age hillfort in South Somerset about 4 miles west of Yeovil. It offers fantastic opportunities for scenic walks, running, playing and wildlife watching, and the far-reaching views across Somerset are spectacular. With over 300,000 visitors a year and growing, this additional ranger support will make a big difference in preserving and improving this beloved heritage site for everyone to enjoy for generations to come. Find out more, including events at Ham Hill at the Visit South Somerset website.


Image below shows Geoff (in red hat) instructing volunteers in the art of dry stone walling during a 'taster day' with the Friends of Ham Hill


Category: Ham Hill

Tags: Ham Hill Country Park