Introducing our new Mend the Gap Programme Manager, Ruth Staples-Rolfe

Introducing our new Mend the Gap Programme Manager, Ruth Staples-Rolfe

We’re pleased to welcome a new Programme Manager who will take the Mend the Gap project forwards, Ruth Staples-Rolfe.


Mend the Gap aims to deliver projects and schemes to reduce and compensate for the visual harm done to the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs AONBs by the electrification of the Great Western main line. Ruth talks about how she’d like to involve local communities in the process, and bring her experience of landscape management, teaching, and public engagement with nature to the project.

I am pleased to take up this exciting position. One thing I have enjoyed throughout my career is meeting new people and seeing things grow. The Mend the Gap Programme came about because of the electrification of the railway. The scars of this change still need to be healed through planting and enhancement projects. The question I have been exploring is how we do this as a community. To do this, I have been drawing on my experience of landscape management.

I began my career as a teacher and I loved watching the children develop their interests, confidence and understanding. A good teacher watches and listens as much as they talk, and this is something I still do, as I progress through my career. From teaching I went to public engagement in the Wildlife Trusts with events, visitor centre management and education programmes. I hope we can utilise these skills in this programme and raise awareness of the special qualities of this beautiful stretch of the Thames and the Chalk Ridgeway.

Chilterns ANOB

Chilterns ANOB

My move to the Wildlife Trusts was driven by my passion for the outdoors and a frustration of being indoors so much as a teacher. Of course with management responsibilities come more desk duties, but there is nothing I like better than walking meetings and opportunities for the blustery feel of the wind in my hair and rain and sun on my face. This passion is mirrored in my personal life by dog walks, horses, gardening, and birdwatching.

For the last decade I have continued to grow, developing and delivering an award winning HLF Polli:Nation programme with my colleagues at Learning through Landscapes and sharing our legacy work through the Birdlife International Partnership and across Europe.

I hope I can bring some of this passion and expertise to this programme and look forward to meeting many of you along the way.

Related news

Improving accessibility with Mend the Gap

Two new access improvements have been completed in the south Chilterns.

Butterflies of the Chilterns

The open chalk grasslands of the Chilterns National Landscape are a marvellous place to see butterflies.

Accessible picnic spots in the Chilterns

Discover some of our favourite accessible spots which are perfect for a picnic over the summer months.

Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

Chilterns Walking Festival

Find out about our twice-yearly walking festival, or see our suggestions of wonderful walks to do at other times.
Chilterns ANOB

Plan your trip to the Chilterns!

Search the interactive map: select from a list of categories to bring up icons showing the location and information of walks, bike rides, places to visit, tasty local products and plenty more across the Chilterns area