"Explore Braunton" gets funding green light



FUNDING has been secured for a project to promote public interest in the
UK’s only Biosphere Reserve and its surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty in North Devon.

The Explore Braunton project has been awarded £50,000 by the Heritage
Lottery Fund, to add to the £28,000 from Devon Renaissance, £10,000 from
North Devon AONB Sustainable Development Fund and £5,000 from Devon
County Council.

The North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in association with the
Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service, is developing the innovative
project to interpret the area's environment and history. The project is also
intended to encourage the enjoyment and conservation of the internationally
important landscapes in Braunton.

Dave Edgcombe who has developed the project bid and will oversee the
work said:
“Explore Braunton is an exciting new project which the area deserves in order
to highlight its important national and international status. There is an
enormous amount of economic potential in the area and local businesses will
be supported to help them unlock that. Our funding partners have said that
this is one of the most exciting projects that they have seen in a long time.”
The project will aim to provide increased information and interpretation
through a dedicated web site aimed at locals, visitors and local schools, to
allow the public to explore the area the Braunton Area which as three very
distinct landscapes. The Internationally important dune system which has a
stunning array of wildflowers, Braunton Marsh a nineteenth century reclaimed
grazing marsh and Braunton Great Field one of only 2 surviving medieval
open fields left in England.

Using new technology in the form of hand held Node Explorers linked to GPS,
the changing landscapes and rich heritage and culture of the area to life
through video, audio and images in a groundbreaking approach. Video and
still will be used to show users how the landscape has evolved over the years
and how different uses have affected it. For example use of the Burrows as a
Training Area in advance of the Normandy landings meant that the landscape
looked very different during the second world war Volunteer guides will be
recruited and trained to ensure that the local community is actively involved in
the project. A feasibility study will be commissioned to investigate the
potential of developing an educational visitor centre on the site of an old gas
distribution centre on the edge of Braunton Burrows. The site is currently
owned by BP, which has confirmed that it will donate the site for the creation
of an education and visitor facility.

Councillor Jenny Jenkins, Devon County Councillor and AONB Partnership
member said: “We are extraordinarily lucky to have such a vital resource on
our doorstep which is there for all of us to appreciate, visitors and residents
alike. Braunton Burrows is unique and this project will help us to make the
most of by explaining the features that make it so special.“
An officer will be employed for 12 months to help deliver the project. They will
work with schools in Braunton and the Biosphere Schools Project as well as
organising and delivering workshop and seminars to local businesses.
The officer will also be responsible for working with local communities, Parish
Councils and other partners, and setting up a training program for local
volunteer guides.

The project will be overseen by an advisory group of partners which includes
The Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service, North Devon Marketing
Bureau, Natural England, Devon County Council, North Devon District
Council, Braunton Parish Council, local schools and landowners.
Richard Butler, Chairman of the North Devon AONB Partnership and National
Association Board Member, said:
“This is a groundbreaking project, not just because of its scale, but because of
the range of what is involved. The initiative covers everything from new
technology, with the hand held GPS systems, to the more traditional guides,
and aims to involve the wider community and businesses into making the
most of the biosphere reserve designation.”
Notes for Editors:

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enables communities to celebrate, look
after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums
and historic buildings to local parks and beauty spots or recording and
celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation’s
heritage for everyone to enjoy. Since 1994, the HLF has awarded over £3.9
billion to more than 26,000 projects across the UK. This includes over £411
million to more than 2,600 projects across the South West. For further
information visit www.hlf.org.uk or telephone 020 7591 6000

Devon Renaissance is a not for profit partnership of the private sector, local
authorities and community-based organisations. Funded primarily by the
South West Regional Development Agency, the program provides grant
funding in order to help create prosperity and jobs and improve access to
services in rural areas. For further information visit their web site
www.ruraldevon.org or telephone 01837 658643

The North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a
stunning coastal area between Combe Martin and the Cornish border, which
is nationally protected for the beauty of its landscape. It is made up of several
distinct landscapes, each with their own special habitats and geology with
many of them receiving extra protection in their own right.
The North Devon AONB Designation - The designation as an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1959 placed it in a family of 41 AONBs and 12
National Parks, which together make up the finest landscapes of England and
Wales. The primary purpose of AONB designation is to conserve and
enhance natural beauty.

The North Devon AONB Team and Funding – A small AONB staff unit is
hosted by Devon County Council within the Northern Devon Coast &
Countryside Service based at Bideford Station. The core service is funded by
Natural England, Devon County Council, North Devon District Council and
Torridge District Council.

The North Devon AONB Partnership - The work of the AONB staff Unit is
guided by the AONB Partnership. Members include representatives from the
Natural England, Devon County Council, Torridge District Council, North
Devon District Council, Environment Agency, North Devon and other national
and local organisations.
For more information about the North Devon AONB visit www.northdevonaonb.org.uk
or call 01237 423655

The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation is based around the
outstanding ecological resource of Braunton Burrows, but reaches out to
encompass the whole of the north Devon area. Biosphere Reserves are
designated world-wide by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organisation) with the aim of being “living laboratories for
sustainable development”. North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve is currently the
UK's first.

Development of the Biosphere Designation is guided by the Biosphere
Partnership and coordinated by the Northern Devon Coast and Countryside
For further information see www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk or contact the
Coast and Countryside service on 01237 423655
The Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service
Are a partnership hosted by Devon County Council and funded by Devon
County Council, North Devon County Council and Torridge District Council.
The Service works throughout North devon and Torridge Districts.
Councillor Jenny Jenkins 01271 814635.
Richard Butler, Chairman North Devon AONB Partnership 01271 861622
Dave Edgcombe, North Devon AONB Project Officer 01237 423655
Ben Totterdell, NDCCS Access and Interpretation 01237 423655



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