A Big Thank you to Environment and Heritage Volunteers on the North Devon Coast

A Big Thank you to Environment and Heritage Volunteers on the North Devon Coast

In celebration of National Volunteer Week (1st – 7th June) the team at the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty launched a big thank you to all their volunteers over the last year and gave their ‘Volunteer of the Year Award’ to Bob Schick.

“Bob is a dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteer who has contributed 78 hours of his time as part of our Coastal Heritage Project,” said Heritage Officer Joe Penfold. “Come rain or shine Bob was on hand to clear ground, remove scrub and muck in with all tasks at hillforts and WW2 sites along the coast, supported by his loyal dog Desmond. We really appreciate both the hard graft of those helping to conserve local scheduled monuments and the more detailed survey work to record the condition of these assets.”

The Coastal Heritage Project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, had 38 conservation volunteers working across 11 heritage sites in the AONB, doing archaeological survey work, geophysical and aerial ‘drone’ surveys, condition recording, guided walks and producing new interpretation materials.  Helping to oversee the project and delivering several key activities have been volunteers from the North Devon Archaeological Society who have provided invaluable support, advice and guidance to the team. For more information on the project see https://www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk/coastalheritage

The AONB team also welcomed two young volunteers through work experience placements. Petroc student Ella de la Cour spent one day a week with the team for four months as part of her Animal Conservation course. Her work included scrub clearance on heritage sites, planting trees, helping with social media posts, researching archive images and planning a new public speaking competition for young people about the AONB. A year 10 student from Bideford College was only able to do two days of her placement due to the Covid-19 lockdown but will hopefully return soon to complete it.

Other regular volunteers in the AONB are the members of Coastwise North Devon who received a small grant from the AONB to pay for training to identify rocky shore species that could indicate changes in our climate. Their species surveys follow a national methodology to provide regular monitoring information to local and national bodies. They also share their knowledge with the public through regular beach-based events. Find out more on their website https://www.coastwisenorthdevon.org.uk/  

“We would like to thank everyone in North Devon and Torridge who has volunteered their time to look after this outstanding landscape,” said AONB Manager Jenny Carey-Wood. “This might be at a public beach clean, a street litter pick, a wildlife or plant survey, creating more areas for wildlife in their garden, farm or woodlands, a guided walk, helping with an outdoor activity for their local community or being a Community Representative on the AONB Partnership. Every contribution no matter how small or large can make a real difference to wildlife, our visitors and local communities.”

If you would like to volunteer with the North Devon Coast AONB or find out more please do get in touch aonb@devon.gov.uk.

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