Tom Tomlinson, first head warden for the Peak District national park, with his team in 1954

Tom Tomlinson, first head warden for the Peak District national park, with his team in 1954

Walkers in the Peak District will be able to step back in time over the Easter holiday as national park rangers celebrate their diamond anniversary.

Veteran rangers will don 1950s outfits and visitors will be able to follow routes pioneered by the original wardens 60 years ago.

The Peak District introduced the first ranger service in the UK and it has grown from a few wardens to 300 rangers today, mainly fully trained volunteers.

As well as patrolling moorland, rangers lead guided walks, carry out footpath repairs and conservation work and help increase people’s understanding of the national park.

Retired Edale ranger Gordon Miller, volunteer ranger for more than 50 years Ian Milne, and area ranger Sheila McHale will lead a family walk from Edale on Good Friday.

They will follow the original path of the first rangers – then called wardens – up to Grindsbrook Meadows. People can also follow their own self-guided walks using leaflets from the visitor centre delineating the wardens’ original patrols.

Area ranger Sheila McHale, who has worked at Edale for 22 years and has co-ordinated the celebrations, said: “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved since April 1954, but we also want to look forward. We hope some of the youngsters may be inspired to become rangers of the future.”

Demonstrating the changing ranger styles: from left, volunteer ranger Ian Milne in the modern uniform; area ranger Sheila McHale in the outfit she wore in the 1980s, and retired Edale ranger Gordon Miller in 1950s style

Demonstrating the changing ranger styles: from left, volunteer ranger Ian Milne in the modern uniform; area ranger Sheila McHale in the outfit she wore in the 1980s, and retired Edale ranger Gordon Miller in 1950s style

The ranger has cause for double diamond celebrations as she will mark her 60th birthday this year.

She said: “The first rangers wore tweed suits, stout boots and thick woolly socks, which looked very different from the modern red fleeces and light grey trousers we wear today.”

A display at the visitor centre in Edale will include badges, photographs and awards won by the rangers over the years, and the display will be taken round to other visitor centres in coming months. Some of the rangers will be kitted out in uniforms of the past.

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