Ranger Service

Published: 05 October 2020
Last edited: 05 October 2020

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney is of high importance for the local identity of Orcadians and local stewardship and engagement is vital to ensure the adequate and effective management of the site and its wider landscape setting. Since 2005 a Ranger Service has been in place, to serve both visitors to the sites and the local community members and residents. Seasonal ranger posts have been added with volunteer ranger posts filled by local residents who work alongside the World Heritage Site Rangers employed by Historic Environment Scotland.

The volunteer rangers have an important role in the protection the natural and cultural heritage of Orkney as they assist with foot patrols, supervision of third party events, guided walks, and support for school and community groups. They are frontlines in the engagement with the public and they are actively engaged in ensuring safe and responsible access to the site and its enjoyment.

Ranger Services has been set up at a number of properties managed by Historic Environment Scotland as a measure to foster the goodwill, feeling of responsibility and stewardship of local communities and stakeholders.


Co-management building
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

The volunteering programme is organized by Historic Environment Scotland and supported through the mentorship of the staff rangers working at the site level. Volunteer Rangers are provided with a ranger uniform and with all the necessary information to welcome and guide visits to the site. Over time, volunteers have moved on become employed seasonal rangers.

Lessons learned

- Rangers play a key role in ensuring a high quality visitor experience. They bring the story and sites to life for the thousands of visitors who come to Orkney every year. They conduct daytime walks and evening tours, as well as organising and conducting special tours for school and community groups. Additionally, rangers are engaged in the creation new opportunities and activities for people visiting the site throughout the year and in multiple weather conditions.

- The role of Rangers is to ensure balance between the conservation of the site with visitor experience, particularly at those sites that are most fragile like the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness.

- The Ranger programme is an opportunity for capacity development as it allows to enhance and strengthen professional and personal skills.

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