Tributes to ranger after 30 years

Ken Drabble  A man who helped pioneer the Peak District National Park ranger service has died at the age of 79.  Ken Drabble, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, spent 30 years working for the national park before he retired as chief ranger in 1994.  Born in New Mills, he said: 'As a boy I could see Kinder Scout from my bedroom,' little realising that he would spend much of his working life on its dramatic heights.
Ken Drabble A man who helped pioneer the Peak District National Park ranger service has died at the age of 79. Ken Drabble, of Chapel-en-le-Frith, spent 30 years working for the national park before he retired as chief ranger in 1994. Born in New Mills, he said: 'As a boy I could see Kinder Scout from my bedroom,' little realising that he would spend much of his working life on its dramatic heights.
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A man who helped to pioneer the Peak District National Park ranger service has died at the age of 79.

Ken Drabble spent 30 years working for the park before he retired as chief ranger in 1994.

As a boy he could see Kinder Scout from his bedroom - little realising he would spend much of his working life on its heights.

“When I came out of the Royal Marines I saw an advert asking for wardens to patrol Kinder Scout,” he recalled in an interview for the Moor Memories oral history project.

“I already practised up there for mountain rescue, so I thought if I could get paid for walking on Kinder I’d have a go.”

Ken became one of the national park’s first six assistant wardens when he joined the fledgling service in 1964.

He was the first warden in Longdendale, then transferred to Edale, becoming head warden in 1970. In 1974 the wardens were renamed rangers and Ken became chief ranger in 1986.

In the early days large tracts of moorland were closed, but Ken managed new access agreements for walkers, getting on easily with landowners, waterworks managers, gamekeepers and farmers and resolving the concerns of local people.

He was also innovative in footpath management – on the Pennine Way, he brought in old flagstones from demolished mills to cross the deep peat moorlands, reducing severe erosion.

And he was forward-looking in introducing Argocat all-terrain vehicles for conservation work and moorland firefighting.

Ken leaves wife Erica, two sons, a daughter and grandchildren.