Hatfield Forest's longest serving member of staff, Ian Pease, is celebrating 25 years working for the National Trust.

Ian gets involved in all aspects of forest life at the Takeley nature reserve, from breeding lambs and cutting wood to driving tractors.

Starting as a volunteer with the National Trust in 1993, Ian took on a full-time role - then known as a warden - in January 1998, and says being a ranger is a "way of life".

He said: "I’ve always loved being outside since I was a kid and could never sit still at a desk, even at school.

"My role is far more than just a job, but a way of life for me and I’m still here after all these years because I love what I do, working outside in such beautiful place with tractors and sheep.

"It brings so much variety and I get to work with a lovely team of staff and volunteers."

Dunmow Broadcast: Ian Pease is celebrating 25 years working as a ranger at Hatfield ForestIan Pease is celebrating 25 years working as a ranger at Hatfield Forest (Image: Elliott Neale/National Trust)

Alongside his border collie sheepdog Selena, Ian looks after Hatfield Forest's flock of rare Hebridean sheep.

"The sheep, and the red poll cattle that come for the summer, play a really important role in helping us look after the forest," Ian said.

"They graze the land in a way that creates different varieties of habitats for all sort of species.

"It’s especially rewarding seeing the sheep through the winter and into the spring and summer. We’re just about to come into lambing season so it’s a busy time.

"We want to expand our flock of sheep and our resident ram Nigel has been busy helping us with this and we’ve also now brought in a new ram called Larry to share the workload."

Over his 20 years at Hatfield Forest, Ian has tried his hand at many different tasks.

He said: "Being a ranger involves many different skills and I’ve learnt to have a go and give things a try.

"From rounding up cattle, felling trees, servicing tractors, plumbing and sheep shearing, there’s not much I haven’t been involved in at the Forest.


"I even dressed up as Edward North Buxton who gave the Forest to the Trust in 1924 for a costumed re-enactment.

"Next year we will be celebrating 100 years of Hatfield Forest being in the care of the National Trust, so that will be a special moment. Maybe I’ll dress up again!"

Ian also organised Hatfield Forest's WoodFest festival that ran from 2003 to 2019, which celebrated centuries of traditional woodcraft and sadly stopped due to the pandemic.

Sarah Barfoot, experiencing and programme manager for the Essex and Suffolk Countryside, said: "To say Ian is as much part of the Forest as he is of it, would not underestimate his passion for the place and his work within it.

"He is an inspiration to all who know him."

Ian added: "We are all working hard to make sure Hatfield Forest is still here for the next 1,000 years and I feel very lucky and proud to be part of its story."