Meet the rangers

Our countryside rangers manage the country parks and countryside sites for everyone to enjoy.

The rangers perform a wide variety of management duties in the parks including helping visitors with enquiries, carrying out practical estate work, conservation work, environmental education and organising events and activities.

We aim to have a ranger attending a country park every day during normal working hours (except Christmas Day). The rangers regularly patrol all of our country parks.  These patrols help them to monitor any maintenance problems and provide an efficient response to any issues.

The presence of rangers in their familiar and distinctive uniform can be a very reassuring sight for visitors to the countryside. We hope that knowing a ranger is about every day will encourage everyone to visit the parks with confidence.

  • Debbie Samwell - Senior Ranger Debbie Samwell - Senior Ranger

    Debbie joined Northamptonshire’s Countryside Service team in December 2013 as Senior Ranger for Brixworth Country Park and Brampton Valley Way. Her journey to this role has followed a varied and winding path!

    She had two passions growing up, wildlife and countryside, and art; as a teen Debbie often combined the two by drawing on walks around Sywell Country Park. Her education focused on art, while the great outdoors remained a personal passion. Following the completion of her theatre degree, Debbie secured a role as a ranger in Surrey. This reawakened her first passion for parks and the countryside, and is where she realised her true vocation. Since then, Debbie has worked in a wide range of customer service, sales and hospitality roles, and as a ranger at Delapre Abbey, Northampton. She also volunteered for the Wildlife Trust BCN in Northamptonshire on their wildlife sites, learning a range of new conservation skills for her personal development.

  • Andy Hickinbotham - Ranger Andy Hickinbotham - Ranger

    ​Andy brings with him 30 years of experience from the country parks of Leicestershire. He started his career at the age of 16 for The Bradgate Park Trust as an estate junior, which covered practical countryside work along with deer management and visitor engagement. He quickly gained experience and knowledge which he would take with him when he moved to Bosworth Battlefield Country Park in 1985. This move gave Andy more scope to follow his heart and to be able to spread his enthusiasm of the outdoors to young and old alike by taking them on guided walks, leading volunteers and improving habitats.

    He is able to recite the whole of his 'Battle of Bosworth' talk whilst in his sleep, having done the walks so many times!! Andy moved on to be Assistant Senior Ranger within the Western Leicestershire Ranger Team and was able to pass his skills onto younger rangers joining the team whilst also covering the daily office administration and organising of many varied events.

    He's worked on all of the county's sites covering reed beds, lowland heath and ancient woodland along with the planting of the National Forest. He finished his Leicestershire career at Beacon Hill Country Park in the Charnwood Forest, taking great care of the Iron Age hill fort and reinstating the hillsides to heath with the help of the park's Alpaca, rare breed sheep flock, pigs and herd of Long Horn cattle.

    Andy moved to First for Wellbeing at the beginning of March 2017 and was running volunteer sessions on his second day of being on the job. He is currently getting to know the area and learning the local 'lingo'.

    Andy is a passionate scouter of 25 years plus, holding appointments of County Scout Leader and Head Warden of a Campsite for which his countryside and outdoor knowledge has proved to be very useful for teaching young people and leaders various skills.