Long-serving River Dart Country Park employee, Chris Heathman, has been working for the popular tourist attraction and campsite in Ashburton, Devon for almost 37 years.
Soon to be celebrating his 65th birthday, Chris has been employed as a Groundsman at the organisation since 1983. During his career, Chris has worked with machinery, carried out building work, excavated and helped maintain the wider estate.
“I was offered the job for a six-week period and I just never left!” Chris explained. He continued, “I have loved working with so many great people over the years. I’m sure the staff and the location have been key to the length of time I have been here. I’m very lucky to see so much wildlife on a daily basis. One day its foxes, another it could be deer, it’s beautiful.”
“Everyday is different”. He chuckled. “I once rescued a couple that were camping with us and somehow drove their car into the stream. I managed to pull them out with the tractor. I put boards down and shifted them very slowly to make sure no more damage was done to the car”.
When discussing the site’s alterations over the years, he stated, “The park has certainly changed a lot since I started work here, with the inclusion of more activities and areas for visitors to enjoy. It was only archery, caving, canoeing and walks available then.” Chris claimed, “I have loved seeing the end results of many different projects here. I’ve enjoyed getting stuck in and have had some great laughs along the way”.