Over the weekend of 20-21 July, the Mendip Hills Young Rangers, led by the AONB Unit, met for their final camp-out of a two year programme designed to equip them with skills required to explore, conserve and enhance the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The camp-out marked the final activity and celebration for the 13-14 year olds as they graduated from the programme. Young Rangers pitched their tents in the beautiful surroundings of Fernhill Farm – an eco-farm on the Mendip Plateau. They then used their map reading skills and knowledge of the countryside to design and deliver a 1.5 hour hike using the Limestone Link promoted trail, with stunning views out over Chew Valley Lake. On return, the Rangers had a campfire and barbecue with local meat from the farm, followed by a bat walk as the sunset on the camp and a successful two years of activities.
Tim Haselden, Mendip Hills AONB Project Development Officer, said “The Young Rangers undertook a wide variety of activities over the two years relating to the special qualities of the AONB, including caving, drystone wall building, wildlife walks and stargazing into the dark skies of Mendip. Two lucky Young Rangers also had the opportunity to attend the recent International Junior Ranger Camp in Estonia. The Young Rangers also worked with farmers, members of the public at events and elderly people from a local care home, and learnt about quarrying, conservation, navigation and planning laws in a protected landscape. They leave the programme with certificates in Outdoor First Aid and the John Muir Award – not to mention new found friendships, a greater level of confidence and the prestigious Mendip Hills Young Ranger Certificate of Achievement!”
Some of the Young Rangers will now progress onto the Mendip Hills Advanced Young Ranger programme, whilst we also welcome a new cohort of fifteen 11-12 year olds, who begin their exciting Young Ranger journey with us in September!