Meet the Team
Ryan Dobson – Access and Recreation Manager

Ryan started at Watchtree in 2009 and took on the responsibility of the Watchtree Wheelers. Since then the project has developed considerably.

Before joining the Team at Watchtree Ryan worked in management positions for various hotels in the Lake District. He has lived in Cumbria all of his life apart from a stint in Lancashire where he studied for his Foundation Degree in Animal Welfare and Behaviour.

Outside of work Ryan enjoys mountain biking, rugby and most importantly walking and training Ralph.

Frank Mawby – Director & Chairperson (Volunteer)
Frank Mawby

Retired. Formerly a National Nature Reserve Manager. Naturalist, Self-employed Wildlife Consultant, Main interests Habitat Management, Birds and experienced Bird Ringer, but keen interest in any aspect of wildlife, species and habitat management.

Bill Knowles – Director (Volunteer)

Involved with the original ecological plans for Watchtree Nature Reserve. Bill is a Director of a number of other social enterprise companies: SECOD (Social Enterprise and Co-operative Development Ltd support consultants:) Cumbria Recycling Limited (TVs,white electrical goods and IT equipment) and Allerdale Citizens Advice plus other charities.

Bob Bushby – Director (Volunteer)

Bob has lived in the local area all his life and became involved with reserve through the Watchtree liaison committee set up during the 2001 Foot and Mouth disease outbreak. As a Volunteer Director he has continued to be involved with the development, running and management of the site.


Dr Liz Still – Director (Volunteer)

Ecological Consultant and also worked on the ecological management plan for the reserve. Liz is an ornithology and invertebrate specialist.

Patricia Macdonald – Director (Volunteer)

Patricia has been involved with the site since 2002; she was Chairman of the Local community group who secured the future of the site as a nature reserve and was an Aikton Parish Councillor. Since that time she has remained involved with the running and management of the site as a Director and as a volunteer.

Sam Griffin – Director (Volunteer)

Born and raised in the area, now an ecological consultant and director of Hesketh Ecology. Sam specialises in bats, reptiles and amphibians. Sam became involved in Watchtree nature reserve in 2009.

William Little – Director (Volunteer)

A retired local farmer. William became involved with Watchtree Nature Reserve through the Watchtree local liaison committee as Chairman of Great Orton Parish Council during Foot and Mouth.

Brian Bowe – Director (Volunteer)

Farmer at Wiggonby who became involved in Watchtree through the local liaison committee.

Clive Tinker – Director and Treasurer (Volunteer)

Often spends time fixing the Lakeland fells through the ‘fix the fells’ project. Clive is a retired pension’s adviser with Pirelli based in Derby.

Robert Timmins – Director (Volunteer)

Although not a native Cumbrian I have been associated with the site since 1975. In 2001 when the site was a Foot and mouth Mass burial site I was the Defra site manager so know a lot about how the site was managed during that period.

Richard Speirs – Director (Volunteer)

Richard has lived in the local area for over 30 years and was involved with the establishment of the Foot and Mouth burials at Watchtree in 2001 through his work with the local authorities.