An interview with...

Rob Petley-Jones

Reserve Manager, Natural England

Date: 11 November 2005
Gait Barrows
Interviewed by:
S Weldon

Rob Petley-Jones manages the nature reserve at Gait Barrows for Natural England (at the time of this interview English Nature and previously the Nature Conservancy). The interview was conducted ‘on location’ at Gait Barrows. This is a unique area containing nationally and internationally important areas of limestone pavement, ancient woodland and rare species of plants and invertebrates. Rob has been looking after this nature reserve for the past 14 years, hardly any time at all in the history of this ancient landscape, but with his scientific knowledge and practical experience he is able to tell a story that if trees could talk they would tell for themselves. He says: ‘imagine what’s happened historically. I mean if these trees could talk what could they tell us, I think there’d be a wonderful story. I think that for me it gives me a sense of proportion as to how important I am in this landscape, and of what I’m doing…’ But he also talks about the changes that have occurred in his time. Some of these changes are positive - like the very successful woodland management scheme to protect and encourage rare species of butterflies and some are negative, like the invasion of grey squirrels into the woods and the demise of the red squirrel.

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