A well-known Dartmoor Ranger has retired after 35 years working for the national park.

Bill Allen began his career with Dartmoor National Park as a trainee ranger in December 1988. Since then, he has led numerous conservation projects and inspired hundreds of volunteers. He retired last Friday (May 31).

‘I love sharing experience and knowledge with people of all ages and to learn as much from them is always a joy,’ Bill commented.

Bill has been involved with the children’s Ranger Ralph club since it started in 2000 and, more recently, he has led the ‘Second Sunday’ volunteer group, which has focused on improving access around Haytor.

‘I am ever grateful for the continued work carried out by volunteers and voluntary wardens and am particularly proud of the improvements we’ve made around and beyond Haytor,’ said Bill. ‘Work's been done with lots of enthusiasm, and it has enabled people with mobility challenges to enjoy this unique location.’

Bill has particularly enjoyed the practical side of the job. ‘Building a bridge, stile or gate, either on your own or with a colleague or volunteer, is very satisfying,’ he notes. ‘To know that it will give years of service to so many people is rewarding.’

Bill plans to spend his retirement working on projects at home and in the garden and to relax by ‘drinking coffee by the sea’.

‘I will miss my colleagues,’ Bill admitted. ‘Although we work alone for much of the time, it’s always good to know there is someone to ask for advice, share knowledge, give a hand with a heavier practical task, or just to catch up with if you’ve had a difficult encounter,’ he said. ‘I feel blessed to have worked alongside them for so long,’ he added.

As well as his colleagues, Bill paid tribute to all the people he’s met throughout his career at Dartmoor National Park. ‘Thank-you to all the amazing people that I’ve met along the way; whether that’s first-time visitors or those lucky enough to call it home. I hope people do everything possible to keep it the special and unique place that it is.’