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Meet National Trust ranger Jonathan Fairhurst and get his tips for top local walk

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: September 26, 2013

  • HEAD RANGER: Jonathan Fairhurst.

  • VIEWPOINT: Visitors on the rocks at Morte Point.

  • Bluebell tunnel down to the Kinever Valley.

  • COMPANION: Jonathan Fairhurst's dog Ffinlo.

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Name: Jonathan Fairhurst.

Position: Head ranger Croyde, Woolacombe and Mortehoe. I've been a ranger for 14 years (10 in North Devon) and have had the company of my dog Ffinlo since I started. We used to live on the Isle of Man and his unusual name means "Blond God" in the Manx language.

Area: Approximately 2,500 acres from Croyde through to Ilfracombe, including around 12 miles of glorious North Devon coastline.

Look out for: The first of thousands of Pyramidal Orchids to flower in Woolacombe Warren during early summer. These native, but rare plants have colourful, dense spikes of pink or pale purple flowers and look beautiful amongst the sand dunes.

Try: A good short walk is the one from Mortehoe to Bennets Mouth via Kinever Valley and back along Lighthouse Road, especially in the spring when the days are getting longer, the weather warming up and migrant birds starting to come back; swallows, wheatears, chiffchaffs signally the start of summer.

Best bit of the job: Variety. No two days are ever the same. There are lots of challenges but I take great pride in looking after and caring for this beautiful part of the countryside and the footpaths so that others can enjoy the great scenery and coastline.

Worst part of the job: Administration and emails.

My Favourite View: The tip of Morte Point for its rocky wildness especially on a stormy day when the sea birds are driven close to shore and the waves are crashing over the rocks, or the view coming down Challacombe Hill on to Morte Point and Woolacombe Beach, when for a few seconds you can't see any buildings and you could imagine how Woolacombe was barely a hundred years ago.

PS: Why go to the gym? The coastline is a great place to be active and get fit. I love running along the coastpath, around Morte Point or Baggy Point. It is a fantastic way to unwind and rejuvenate.

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