As a Rights of Way Officer my job role is: to protect, maintain, promote and develop public rights of way and access in accordance with relevant strategies, initiatives, policies and procedures. Develop and promote improvements and use of the rights of way and access network. To effectively deal with all delegated rights of way correspondence, complaints and administration. I responding to and implement Public Path Orders and other changes to the rights of way network. I attend meetings and liaising with local councils, landowners, user groups, statutory bodies and the general public, providing advice and information. I review and respond to local plans, respond to planning applications and submit section 106 responses, I also deal with legal orders for changes to the rights of way network. Working with developers to deliver large section 106 schemes and to protect and maintain routes through development sites.
How did I get here?
I worked alongside my university studies at the Lake District National Park as a Customer Sales Assistant and Information Adviser as well as for the National Trust as a Membership and Visitor Welcome Assistant and Catering Assistant. These jobs taught me my customer service skills and how to be diplomatic but made me realise being on the front line as a customer assistant was not my dream job.
I gained a lot of voluntary experience whilst at Univeristy including: a Residential Placement with the RSPB on Islay, student placement with the Northumberland National Park, recording data for the Ramblers Charity, recording data for Nothumberland Wildlife Trust as an Otter Surveyor and voluntary intern position at the RSPB.
Through my role as an intern at the RSPB at Coombes Valley I was a chainsaw operator for 6 months cutting down holly as part of a woodland management project. I was lucky enough to obtain my pesticide and chainsaw City & Guilds qualifications and train to be a tree safety adviser. This role gave me the insight that such hard manual labour 5 days a week was not my dream job either.
All the hard work in seasonal jobs and voluntary posts eventually paid off in January 2018 when I landed my current job as Rights of Way Officer. I based my dissertation at University on ‘access to the countryside for people with disabilities’ interviewing many experts in the field which gave me a bit of background understanding of rights of way. I also did some work with rights of way with Northumberland National Park being responsible for surveying routes, creating leaflets and adding them to an accessible online app for the public.
After starting my job I was thrown in the deep end with protection and maintenance issues, expected to deal with landowners in week one. I have now attended 3 Institute of Public Rights of Way courses: Law and Practice, Securing Positive Outcome from Development and Agriculture for Rights of Way. I am now fully swatted up on rights of way and find myself able to recite legislation as if I’ve always known it.