Staff Profiles

Dr. Sam Bridgewater


Conservation Manager

Sam Bridgewater joined Clinton Devon Estates in November 2012. Sam was awarded a BSc in Botany from Sheffield University in 1991, an MSc in Forestry from Oxford University in 1992 and a PhD in Conservation Biology from Edinburgh University in 2004. He spent 15 years as an academic researcher at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (1992 to 2004) and the Natural History Museum, London (2004 to 2008), with much of this time spent explaining patterns of plant diversity in the Neotropics. He is an author of two books and over 20 peer-viewed academic papers and has a particular interest in environmental education.

 ‘I am delighted to be part of Clinton Devon Estates and to help lead the Conservation Trust. The Pebblebed heaths represent the largest expanse of lowland heathland in Devon and sit at the top of the hierarchy of European conservation sites.  The challenge we have is how to reconcile the needs of wildlife with public recreation and access and how to fund these activities in the long-term. What excites me about the work is securing a sustainable model of conservation management, one that is based on sound science and which enjoys full public support.’


Paul Swain


Senior Warden

Paul comes from a farming background and has been working with the Trust to conserve the Pebblebed heaths for over a decade, putting his long-standing machinery and animal husbandry skills to good use. Initially assistant warden, Paul took over the senior warden’s position in 2012 on the retirement of Bungy Williams and now leads the practical day-to-day management of the Commons.

What interests me most about the job is trying to recreate the management practices of the Commoners of the past using modern techniques. Keeping the heaths in good health is a challenge, but it is worthwhile when you see the results. An important part of the work is communicating what we do to the general public, and ensuring that we balance the needs of wildlife with those of society’.


Ed Lagdon


Assistant Warden

Ed studied Countryside Management at Aberystwyth University and has specialised in heathland management since 2004. After a period as a contractor he joined the Trust’s team full time in 2011. In addition to undertaking practical management and education work he specialises in wildlife surveys, including of nightjars and Dartford warblers

 ‘I have always had a keen interest in wildlife and love working outside. Working on the heaths within the East Devon AONB, is hugely rewarding, as you can see the positive impact our small team has on the environment.’





Kate Ponting 

EdLagdon_CDE-2  Countryside Learning Officer

Kate joined Clinton Devon Estates in 2014 after 14 years as a primary school teacher. Her role is to help communicate the work of Clinton Devon Estates, including the Trusts work on the Pebblebed Heaths and River Otter.  She works with the local community to broaden understanding of how and why the countryside is managed. She plans all education events for Clinton Devon Estates and also manages the Friends of the Commons group.

 ‘The new post will allow the Estate to expand its important work and inform people on all areas of countryside management. However we hope the learning will work both ways; those impacted by the Estate’s activities will have opportunity to engage with us and for us to learn too'.

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