00:00:02 Hi, I’m Stuart C. I’m the Countryside Manager here at Clumber Park for the National Trust. Clumber is four thousand acre country estate, with something like seven hundred thousand visitors. My job as Countryside Manager, first and foremost, is managing the countryside as a whole. I manage everything on the estate as regards the land, everything except for the gardens really. We’ve been trying to raise the standard of conservation here at Clumber Park. We’ve been more aware of the habitats we’ve got, and the animals and plants that we’ve got, and we’ve been trying to protect those and preserve those.
00:00:38 My favourite part of the job is possibly being out in the countryside, especially on the heath lands. I love heath lands. I’ve made it my business to be involved with the heath lands probably more than any other habitat. My granddad in Devon was a farm worker. When I say a farm worker, it wasn’t tractor work then, it was mainly labour work. And we used to go and stay at my granddad’s when we went on holiday to Devon, and we used to love, you know, riding bikes down the country lanes in Devon, four or five miles from the nearest town, absolutely superb onto Exmore, so I think I’ve always had that interest in the countryside.
00:01:21 When I first left school, I did do six months at an engineering factory in the drawing office, mainly as a tea lad, I would say, in those days. And I quickly realised that because I was sporty at school, I did all the sports, I was in the football team, and swimming, and things like that – I was an outdoor person – I quickly realised that to be in an office all the time at work was so frustrating and I knew I had to do something physical, and the opportunity to become an apprentice electrician came along and I grabbed that with both hands.
00:02:05 I was a very home-based person initially in my life, but travelling around you suddenly realise what there is out there in the world and the different opportunities. In the early eighties, I got made redundant, and I took stock on my career and I realised I wanted to do something that I really liked doing, and I had the opportunity to come here to Clumber to manage a small team of long-term unemployed and I’ve stayed ever since, you know. I’ve been here twenty-five/twenty-six years now and gradually worked through the ranks from assistant warden to countryside manager.
00:02:46 It’s not a nine until five job. If something needs doing, it has to be done. If something has gone wrong, it has to be sorted whatever time of day it is. It may be a deer knocked down on the road. You’ve got to do something about it, but that’s what makes it interesting. It makes it different from going working in a factory or an office.
00:03:11 We have quite a large number of volunteers helping us. They want to help the National Trust, they enjoy being outside. I’ve got one guy who was a senior manager with a government organisation and he just loves to come and ask to do something and get on with it. He just wants to come out and do something practical – keep fit, be active, meet other people, and I think that’s what a lot of volunteers do. That’s why they come into the countryside and help us at Clumber and the National Trust.
00:03:48 It has realised a dream for me, being here for twenty-odd years, and I still enjoy it every day, and I don’t think there are many people in employment who can go and say ‘I enjoy my job every day of the week,’ which is superb to me.