Overview of the role

Provide daily management, maintenance, conservation and protection of the natural environment and inspire people about the natural environment.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in organisations that are responsible for managing the countryside, natural environment, community engagement and public access. These cover significant amounts of our country. 25% of England is covered by National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), and more than 350,000 hectares is managed by organisations such as National Trust, Natural England, Wildlife Trusts and RSPB. This includes land which is National Nature Reserves as well as private landed estates, urban and country parks. The types of organisations include local government - unitary, county, district, city, town and parish councils, small and medium businesses, national and local charities such as National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, Woodland Trust, Canal and River Trust as well as National Park Authorities, Forestry England and Natural England.

The broad purpose of the occupation is the daily management, maintenance, conservation and protection of the natural environment and to inspire people about the natural environment and encourage them to engage with their local green spaces. This includes a wide range of habitats such as moorland, heathland, wetland, woodland, grassland and coastal and protected landscapes that makes the English countryside, either in an urban or rural environment, both distinctive and special. They organise, supervise and deliver specific land management, conservation and community engagement tasks and manage small scale projects working collaboratively both internally and externally with a wide range of partners, stakeholders, organisations and interest groups as well as creating safe environments where the public can enjoy the countryside and coastline. They carry out challenging work outdoors, in a variety of locations, which may be remote as well as undertaking their role all year round in a variety of weathers. They work with minimal supervision or as part of a broader team.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with organisations such as local AONB's and National Park Authorities, statutory bodies such as Natural England, Historic England, local town and parish councils, community groups and members of the public. Members of the public can include paying customers as well as the public making use of public rights of way, permissive routes and open access land. In addition, employees will work with contractors, volunteers, friends of and corporate groups, who offer time, resources and services to invest in their local environment; and other teams from within their organisations. Also, local landowners and tenants, appointed representatives such as councillors, educational groups, emergency services and local community or other interest groups.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for planning and delivering short and medium term work programmes and small scale projects from creating a new multi-use route to setting up a new grazing project. They allocate resources, staff and volunteers needed for the day to day management of delegated countryside sites, areas or projects that they work on. This includes practical habitat and species conservation and land management, construction and maintenance of boundaries, assets and countryside infrastructure and public access routes. They conduct, evaluate and report on surveys and monitor habitats and species, people and structures and assets. They are responsible for planning, delivering and evaluating high quality environmental interpretation, education and information to promote key messages, increase peoples understanding of the natural environment and encourage people to engage with local green spaces such as public events, educational visits and using social media.

They will respond to major or minor events that impact upon the natural environment, assets or people such as environmental incidents such as landslips, fires or pollution, first aid emergencies, theft of equipment or notifiable or other diseases and pests which affect plant or animal health e.g. Ash Dieback. They will be required to take responsibility for building effective working relationships both internally and externally and delivering their scheduled work activities safely, sustainably, to agreed work programmes and licences, timeframe, quality, budget and ensuring value for money. 

A Countryside Ranger is a frontline representative of their organisation and they are expected to display their organisation's values and behaviours, actively engage with the public and respond to customer queries in a positive manner. They will be responsible for managing and complying with health, safety and wellbeing legislation, as well as countryside legislation, organisations policies and procedures and implementing environmental good practice. They are accountable for resources such as vehicles, equipment and materials supplied to carry out their duties.   They will be expected to be aware of the safety of others working alongside them or visiting the area. 

Typical job titles include:

Community ranger Countryside ranger Estate ranger Estate supervisor Park ranger Ranger Recreation ranger Reserve or countryside warden

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements will be determined by each individual employer. These may typically be relevant and prior experience, skills and knowledge gained from working in the countryside management industry either in a paid or voluntary capacity. You must have the attitude and ability to develop the required skills and knowledge during the apprenticeship. This will usually be tested via an application and or interview process

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Organise and prioritise short and medium term work programmes relating to the day to day management, maintenance and protection of delegated countryside sites, areas or projects. Including the organisation and sourcing of resources, staff and volunteers to deliver work programmes within the agreed timeframe, quality, and budget and ensure value for money

K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K9 K10 K11 K12

S3 S4 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S11 S20 S25

B2 B4 B10

Duty 2 Organise, supervise and carry out a wide range of practical conservation and land management work that creates, maintains and improves habitats to protect species, increase biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and ensure a natural and healthy environment

K2 K4 K5 K6 K12 K19

S4 S5 S8 S9 S10 S13 S19

B1 B2 B4 B12

Duty 3 Supervise, induct, and train others such as paid, seasonal or voluntary staff

K9 K15 K16 K22

S7 S16 S19

B3 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 4 Work both collaboratively with others both internally and externally and establish and maintain effective working relationships, as well as independently and autonomously when the role requires

K16 K17

S10 S18 S20 S23

B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B10

Duty 5 Promote responsible public use of the natural environment, balance the conflicting needs of wildlife, land use, landscape and historical value and different users and diffuse conflict between different interests and user groups, provide excellent customer service and represent their organisation in a manner which builds public confidence and encourages people to engage with their local green spaces

K16 K17

S18 S20 S23

B5 B6 B7 B11

Duty 6 Organise, prepare and supervise the construction and maintenance of boundaries, assets and infrastructure such as steps, ramps and drainage and public access routes such as permissive access for a wide variety of users to encourage responsible and safe use of the countryside. This will often involve balancing conflicting needs between different types of users, negotiation of access, the use of the land, public opinion, current land management practices and environmental constraints

K3 K11 K12

S8 S9 S10 S11 S12 S19

B1 B2 B4 B12

Duty 7 Identify and respond to events (major or minor) that impact upon the environment, wildlife, natural habitats, assets or people e.g. responding to small and large scale environmental incidents, first aid emergencies, theft of equipment or identifying and reporting notifiable or other diseases and pests which affect plant or animal health

K4 K12 K18 K19

S1 S9 S10 S21 S25

B4 B6 B10 B11 B12

Duty 8 Manage and comply with health and safety and countryside legislation, organisations policies and procedures such as safeguarding and implementing environmental good practice, to ensure work is delivered safely, correctly and sustainably including reporting and managing any risks and adhering to any licences required

K1 K2 K11 K19

S1 S2 S3 S25

B4 B5 B8

Duty 9 Prepare, conduct, evaluate and report to others (internally and externally, regionally and nationally) on surveys and monitoring of habitats and species to understand species numbers and how this relates to current and future habitat management practices, people - including visitors and volunteers and countryside assets and structures

K4 K6 K11 K13 K14 K19

S8 S9 S10 S13 S14 S20

B1 B2 B6

Duty 10 Prepare, deliver and evaluate high quality environmental interpretation, education and information to promote key messages, increase peoples understanding of the natural environment and encourage people to engage with local green spaces. For example, public events, educational visits, outdoor boards, signage, interactive displays, guided walks, talks and presentations and using social media

K20 K21

S20 S22 S23

B2 B3 B6

Duty 11 Organise, deliver, and supervise small scale project work from start to completion, and as specified by their organisation, within remit, on budget and to timescales and representing value for money

K7 K8 K10

S4 S6 S8 S9 S10 S18 S25

B1 B2 B4 B7 B10

Duty 12 Prepare, operate, maintain and supervise others using vehicles, equipment and machinery. e.g. 4WD vehicles, trailers, tractors, and other powered and non-powered tools such as winches, ride on mowers, pole saws and hand tools

K1 K12

S1 S2 S3 S15 S16 S17

B1 B5 B8

Duty 13 Source, store and control the use of resources such as materials, mobile devices and other technology such as GPS, tablets and cameras, ensuring responsibility of resources at all times


S15 S17

B1 B5 B8

Duty 14 Agree and develop their personal objectives, performance and ongoing development



B1 B3 B9 B10



K1: Current legislation including health and safety, codes of practice, and work place policies and procedures relevant to their role and duties for example Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations, General Data Protection Regulations, safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults, waste management, risk management and assessment, record keeping and compliance. Back to Duty

K2: Key UK environmental legislation, land and wildlife designations, permissions and licences relevant to the management of habitats and species and other countryside management works e.g. Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act and Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act. Back to Duty

K3: Current legislation, planning regulation and legal processes and procedures in relation to managing public rights of way and other public access such as Highways Act, Countryside and Rights of Way Act and Definitive Maps and Statements. Back to Duty

K4: Ecology including main UK ecosystems, habitats and indicator species and identification and requirements of a complex range of native and invasive species and the relationship between them and the environment in relation to their local area. Back to Duty

K5: Practical and technical land and habitat management techniques such as felling, pruning, planting, cutting, mowing, coppicing, thinning, spraying and uprooting, livestock grazing and controlling vegetation and invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed and best practice for a range of habitats and species and how to balance conflicting needs. Back to Duty

K6: Main uses of land in UK such as agriculture, forestry, housing, recreation and their interactions. Back to Duty

K7: The structure, content, purpose and uses of work programmes, site, habitat and project plans to assist with the day to day and technical management of the delegated countryside sites, areas or projects. For example, habitat action plans, biodiversity action plans. Back to Duty

K8: Principles of financial management including how to set up and manage a budget and the project management life cycle from business case to implementation including risk assessment, planning, financial management, resources, reporting and evaluation techniques. Back to Duty

K9: Methods for managing teams, allocating work and delegation and how their team’s work links to the organisational objectives, lines of responsibility and who to speak to if they need to escalate issues. Back to Duty

K10: The types of UK funding streams relevant to organisational objectives. For example: Countryside Stewardship, farming subsidies, developer contributions and lottery funding. Back to Duty

K11: Legislation, principles and best practice for the design, construction and management of assets and infrastructure such as steps, ramps, gates, stiles, bridges and drainage; boundaries such as fences, walls and hedges; and public access routes such as public rights of way and permissive access including a technical understanding of their type, usage, cost, lifespan, historic value and relationship with landscape, terrain and regional character. Back to Duty

K12: Applications for different machinery, tools and equipment for a wide variety of habitat, access or asset management work, and their use e.g. 4WD vehicles, winches and other powered and non-powered tools such as chainsaws, mobile devices and other technology such as GPS and tablets. Back to Duty

K13: Survey techniques and how to plan surveys, appropriateness of the surveys and techniques and technology used in their implementation for habitats and species, visitors or volunteers, assets and access work. Back to Duty

K14: How to examine and interpret survey data with particular attention to how this data is used internally such as Ecologists, externally, locally and nationally to assess current populations of flora and fauna and current and future habitat management and visitor management. Back to Duty

K15: How to recruit, train, supervise, motivate and manage volunteers and staff to maintain good team relations and provide a positive volunteer experience. Back to Duty

K16: Communication methods used to influence and build effective relationships with colleagues, team members, volunteers, contractors, local community groups such as Friends of groups, interest groups such as British Horse Society, educational and corporate groups, neighbouring landowners, tenants and stakeholders and the public and how to promote the work of their organisation in a positive light. Back to Duty

K17: Customer service principles including types and needs of different customers (internal and external to the organisation), their expectations and managing conflict. Back to Duty

K18: The different types of minor and major emergencies and incidents in the sector such as landslips, flooding, snow and ice, fires, pollution, first aid emergencies or theft of equipment. How to manage them including safe working practices, limits of responsibility, organisational and legislative processes and the response/actions needed and how they impact upon the environment, natural habitats, assets and people. Back to Duty

K19: Notifiable or other pests and diseases relevant to their role which affect plant, animal and human health and reporting procedures and biosecurity measures associated with them e.g. Phytophthora and Ash Dieback. Back to Duty

K20: The differences between environmental interpretation and information provision and methods of delivery, intended uses and benefits e.g. social media, public events, educational visits and Forest School, interactive displays, guided walks, leaflets and trails. Back to Duty

K21: How to plan, research, design, analyse and evaluate environmental interpretation and information provision including selecting methods, style and structure best suited to the needs of the audience, location and focus of content. Back to Duty

K22: The importance of and organisational approaches to performance management and supervisory practices to improve performance. Back to Duty


S1: Assess, prioritise, maintain and evaluate a safe working environment following relevant legislation, work place policies and procedures including identifying hazards, assessing risk and minimising risk and implementing and complying with control measures. Back to Duty

S2: Comply with and ensure others comply with legal requirements, industry regulations and standards and organisational policies, processes, procedures and professional codes and ethics. Back to Duty

S3: Comply with environmental best practices and procedures and follow sustainability and waste management practices. Back to Duty

S4: Organise and prioritise environmental and land management work activities such as habitat management, work associated with public access or assets such as bridges and scheduled monuments. This includes assessing tasks, identifying and allocating the required resources to deliver the task effectively and review completed work. Back to Duty

S5: Manage a range of habitats and species using a variety of specialist techniques and resources which takes account of the local area, habitat, species of flora and fauna and levels of associated protection such as felling, pruning, planting, cutting, mowing, coppicing, thinning, spraying and uprooting, livestock grazing and controlling vegetation and invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed. Back to Duty

S6: Produce short or medium term work, site, habitat action or small scale project plans for the delegated areas of responsibility for and in line with organisations requirement and based on sound knowledge of ecological principles and in line with relevant legislation. Back to Duty

S7: Delegate tasks to volunteers/ team members. Back to Duty

S8: Deliver work and projects on time, to a high standard, using allocated resources, to planned budget, method and quality and represent value for money e.g. environmental and land management, public engagement, interpretation or survey work. Back to Duty

S9: Manage workload, taking into account competing and changes in priorities and demonstrate problem solving ability. Back to Duty

S10: Communicate with the correct authorities and seek advice on land, nature conservation and asset management, such as Historic England for Scheduled Monuments or ecologists. Back to Duty

S11: Organise and prioritise asset and infrastructure construction, maintenance and management works including any surveys and alternative plans. Back to Duty

S12: Construct, maintain and manage a range of boundaries, public access routes, infrastructure and assets using a variety of specialist techniques, tools, equipment and resources. Back to Duty

S13: Correctly identify the unique range of native and invasive species and habitats in the geographical area. Back to Duty

S14: Survey, analyse, communicate and evaluate results for habitats, species and countryside assets. Back to Duty

S15: Select and use a range of work-based tools, machinery and equipment e.g. 4WD vehicles, trailers, winches and other powered and non-powered tools such as chainsaws, brushcutters, hedge trimmer and hand tools, mobile devices and other technology such as GPS, tablets and cameras. Back to Duty

S16: Instruct others how to use tools and machinery correctly and safely and ensure operator competence. Back to Duty

S17: Complete records associated with tools and machinery e.g. maintenance, use, vibration and noise levels etc. Back to Duty

S18: Engage and communicate clearly and effectively with stakeholders including the public, landowners, tenants, contractors and colleagues. Back to Duty

S19: Supervise, motivate and work alongside others while undertaking habitat management, construction and maintenance of boundaries, access routes and associated countryside assets. Back to Duty

S20: Present information to the public and relevant stakeholders on planned works, site designation, its species and habitats and techniques used to manage an area. Back to Duty

S21: Deal with emergencies and incidents as appropriate within the limits of their responsibility, authority and level of training. Back to Duty

S22: Design, produce and evaluate various types of environmental interpretation and information provision for a range of audiences. Back to Duty

S23: Speak in public and engage with a wide range of audiences such as stakeholders e.g. tenants, local community or interest groups, volunteers, educational and corporate groups and members of the public on a range of topics. For example, planned or ongoing habitat or access management, local flora and fauna or history and archaeology of an area. Back to Duty

S24: Recognise strengths and areas for development, creates SMART objectives in line with organisational objectives, participates in development opportunities and regularly seeks feedback. Back to Duty

S25: Make decisions based on the organisations principles and relevant and accurate information. Back to Duty


B1: Has a self-disciplined, self-motivated, and proactive approach to work. Back to Duty

B2: Is conscious of time constraints and takes personal responsibility for delivering their work to time and budget. Back to Duty

B3: Responds positively to feedback and is open to change. Back to Duty

B4: Considers other perspectives, options and the bigger picture to make a decision and focuses on solutions rather than problems. Back to Duty

B5: Acts in accordance with the organisational policies, procedures, values and behaviours and in a polite, professional and inclusive manner. Back to Duty

B6: Communicates effectively - Adapts communication style and medium to suit the audience. Back to Duty

B7: Acts as an ambassador for the organisation and takes personal responsibility for identifying and addressing the needs of customers and builds effective and collaborative working relationships. Back to Duty

B8: Proactively promotes and champions health, safety and wellbeing within their organisation. Back to Duty

B9: Takes personal responsibility for developing knowledge and skills and continually seeks to improve their performance. Back to Duty

B10: Self awareness - Aware of own knowledge and limits of responsibility and seeks relevant advice and support when appropriate. Back to Duty

B11: Establishes and promotes respect for the work of the organisation from customers, stakeholders and co-workers. Back to Duty

B12: Takes a positive approach to working outside in differing weather conditions. Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Other mandatory qualifications

Award in Emergency First Aid at Work, which is a minimum of 1 day course

Level: 3

Ofqual regulated

Award in the Safe Use of Brushcutters and Trimmers and (or) the following, employer approved training course: Lantra certificate of competence in the use of Brushcutters or Trimmer

Level: 2

Ofqual regulated

Professional recognition

This standard aligns with the following professional recognition:

  • Countryside Management Association for Capable
  • Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management for Capable

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 4
Reference: ST0926
Version: 1.2
Date updated: 20/12/2023
Approved for delivery: 7 August 2020
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration to gateway: 26 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £9000
LARS Code: 585
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Birmingham City Council, Broads National Park, Butterfly Conservation, Canal and River Trust, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Dartmoor National Park, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Dorset County Council, Durham Wildlife Trust, Exmoor National Park, Knighton Countryside Management, Lake District National Park, National Trust, Natural England, New Forest National Park, Northumberland National Park, North York Moors National Park, Peak District National Park, Plantlife, Redcar and Cleveland Council, RSPB, South Downs National Park, Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire Wildfowl Trust and Wetlands Trust, Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Yorkshire Dales National Park, Yorkshire Peat Partnership, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.2 Occupational standard and end-point assessment plan revised 20/12/2023 Not set Not set
1.1 End-point assessment plan revised 05/05/2023 19/12/2023 Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 07/08/2020 04/05/2023 Not set

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