- About AONBs
- Get involved
The Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership received funding in 2014 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and other supporters for the Blackdown Hills Natural Futures (BHNF) project which started in January 2015. Over 3 years the project discovered more about the natural heritage of the Blackdown Hills by:
A key component of the project is an ecological training programme designed to help people embark on careers in the ecological and conservation sector.
Three unpaid traineeships were offered each year, consistently attracting scores of applications. During the six-month placements, trainees help survey wildlife sites within the AONB and receive in-depth training in botanical identification as well as wider ecological survey techniques. Training subjects covered include most European protected species (bats, great crested newts, dormice, otter, badgers etc).
All survey data is provided to landowners (along with land management advice) and the Devon and Somerset environmental record centres to increase our knowledge and understanding of the special sites, species and habitats of the Blackdown Hills.
The training programme has been extremely successful in all areas. Each year each more than 60 applications were received for the 3 volunteer positions demonstrating the high demand for this type of training and level of competition for jobs. Reasons for success:
Further information and links
Quote from project manager
“It has been extremely rewarding being part of this process and helping our trainees to kick start their careers in the ecology and nature conservation sector. We have visited some incredible sites and met some very committed landowners working towards improving their land for wildlife.”
Quote from participant
“The training I received through the project definitely helped me to gain my present post…I learnt skills that are applicable and valued by my new employer”
Photo Credits: BHNF 2015 training © James Maben