In 1951 the Peak District became Britain's first National Park. Access agreements with landowners were drawn up to provide access to the expanses of high open moorland within the Park, allowing people to enjoy walking and climbing on the moors without having to keep to public rights of way.
In 1954 the National Park warden service was formed, one full-time Warden, assisted by a few enthusiastic volunteers, helped manage access areas. In 1974 their work was widened to cover the whole of the 555sq mile National Park and their title was changed from Warden to Ranger.
Today the Ranger Service is divided into fourteen areas, each managed by an Area Ranger. There are a further five full-time Rangers, a Pennine Way Ranger and over 300 volunteer Rangers.
Although the scope of their job has expanded since those early days, the essence remains the same: to provide a key point of contact between the National Park Authority, local people and visitors.
Their role includes: leading guided walks, looking after footpaths, caring for wildlife and helping people to enjoy and understand the National Park. They also work with the emergency services, farmers, landowners, schools, disabled groups, young offenders, ecologists and volunteers.