Email Update May 2011

Young Rangers 2011 – 2013 recruiting now – Every two years the AONB Unit takes on new Young Rangers to the scheme and we are now recruiting 15 young people between the ages of 11 to 14 to join the new two-year Young Ranger programme starting this September.   See the Young Ranger page of our website for more info and an application form – deadline 17 June 2011.

The current Mendip Hills AONB Young Rangers latest activity was navigation and orienteering around Ebbor Gorge.  As well as putting their map and compass skills to the test the Young Rangers worked together to solve clues to follow a trail and find hidden treasure (the treasure turned out to be a very welcome selection of chocolates). 

North Somerset Show
The AONB Unit was represented at the show by Project Officer Andy Mallender and several Volunteer Rangers with a stand comprising new displays about the area.  There was a great deal of interest in the stand, the new Visitor Guide was very popular and many copies of the ‘8 Wild Walks’ were sold.

The AONB had a display at the recent CLIC24 cycle event (13-15th May) to encourage riders to contribute to the Black Down Project. The organisers will be making a financial contribution towards the improvement of a route on Black Down and are encouraging local riders to get involved in the volunteer tasks that the AONB is leading.

Rodney Stoke Pound Wall
In April the AONB Unit and Rodney Stoke Parish Council organised a volunteer task to rebuild the lime mortared wall at the village pound – the work was funded by the AONB Sustainable Development Fund.  After the initial work was completed the wall was covered with hessian to allow the lime mortar to set slowly.  Due to the recent warm weather the lime mortar ‘went off’ very quickly and the contractors from Woodlouse Conservation have now carried out the final tending of the lime mortar and the finished wall has now been unveiled.

Music on Mendip- a project also funded by the SDF last year held an event on Sunday 8th May as part of North Somerset Arts Week event. The music composed by music students at Churchill school, inspired by Dolebury Warren, can now be downloaded onto iphones via the web site

The Sustainable Development Fund Panel awarded 3 grants this week to: Wells and Mendip Museum working with Somerset Wildlife Trust are organising the Festival of Archaeology (July 2011), Mendip Rocks – 2 programmes of activities promoting the geodiversity and Heritage Seminar (March 2012) receive a grant of £4534, the Hawk and Owl Trust receive a grant of £5000 towards a Mendip Hawk and Owl awareness project that builds on previous project work, and Mendip Society receive a grant of £600 for a one day event at Sladers Leigh Reserve.

Mendip Hills AONB Practical Volunteer Tasks
The AONB Unit is setting up a new group of volunteers to focus on practical tasks in the AONB – the first job for the group was turfing around the newly stone pitched Beacon Batch Barrow on Black Down.  Tuesday 24 May was European Day of Parks – as part of this day the Practical task Volunteers cleared overhanging vegetation from a bridleway on Black Down. 
Owen Jones, AONB Volunteer Coordinator will be running tasks on alternate Tuesdays through the year.

At the AONB Partnership’s Futures Working Group meeting this month, the group were informed of the work that the Devon AONBs are undertaking in reviewing how they might function in the future. The Mendip Hills group are looking at similar issues and identified several areas where learning could be shared including setting up a trust to work alongside the Partnership. An update will be given at the next Partnership Committee meeting on 30th June 2011 at Shipham Village Hall.

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