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SOUTH DEVON AONB Dartmouth at work


There’s a dedicated team constantly working to protect our fine fields, rivers, estuaries, coastline and historic villages here in South Devon. The AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Team supports farmers, creates new walking trails and helps keep our waterways clean and healthy. Steph Wool- vin went to meet them…


Nicky Bailey, COMMUNITY PROJECTS OFFICER


What is the AONB? It’s a living landscape recognised as a national treasure by the government. There are 46 AONBs in the UK – they include some of the most beautiful and cherished landscapes in Britain and need to be cared for now and in the future. The South Devon AONB covers the area between Brixham and Plymouth.


What is your job? I work with communities helping to raise awareness of how to look after the beautiful environment where they live and I encourage people to explore and enjoy it!


What kind of projects do you


set up? There’s ‘Connecting Actively with Nature’ where, at the moment, we are organising a series of short 10-minute walks in Kingsbridge to discover the wildlife on the estuary. The relaxed strolls are designed to get people over 55 out and about and help them understand what’s living on their doorstep. We’ve also completed a community orchard project in partnership with Orchard Link, working with existing volunteer groups to improve their skills so they can look after their orchards more effectively. 23 community orchard groups were involved in the scheme.


How important is it for people to become engaged with the


landscape around them? So important, it’s up to all of us to look after and protect this wonderful environment for ourselves and future generations. We help get people started. They gain skills to look after their surroundings and with that


comes a greater sense of ownership. How many projects do you


work on at any one time? I usually have about 10 bubbling away.


Do you work with local


schools? One of our latest projects was getting pupils in three schools to understand what makes South Devon special. Each created an artistic piece of work based on a theme. Thurlestone Primary looked at ‘Our Wild and Rugged Coast- line’, Charleton Primary looked at ‘Our Amazing Estuaries’ and West Alvington covered ‘Wildlife and Woodlands’. Many of the children are already passionate about the environment and show their parents and grandparents how to behave!


How are all these projects


funded? As a team we apply for funding. Among others, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, European funders and Natural England support our work. There’s often a lot of pa- perwork to do before we see the money!


What do you like about where


you work? It’s so beautiful, people come for miles to holiday here and we live and work here. It’s not easy to keep it looking the way it does. We work hard with our partners to make sure it’s carefully managed and protected. We help farmers to do what they can to safeguard wildlife, businesses to work sustainably and communities to improve their local area.


What did you do before this


job? I was a ranger in Greater Manchester in Bolton, Bury and Salford. I did that for 22 years. But I’m a Devon girl at heart, I went to school in Totnes and my parents still live in Marldon. In 2009 my husband and I decided to move back.


What do you tend to do at the


weekends? My husband, Andy, is a ranger on Dartmoor, so we often argue wheth- er to do the moors for him or the coast for me! We walk a lot. Our two girls enjoy being outside - both have done the Ten Tors Challenge.


Hobbies? I make glass art to sell at local craft fairs and in farm shops. I also play the ukulele with the Marldon Ukule- le Group.


What would you take to a des-


sert island? My ukulele, a crossword (and pen) and a book – probably Cider with Rosie.


Ideal summer’s day… A walk and a picnic on a local beach with English strawberries and Pro- secco or a flask of tea!


Where would you most like to


go in the world? I love skiing but never go to the Alps when it’s warm so I would like to go for a ski season then stay on to see the spring flowers.


Favourite ice cream flavour? Mint choc chip.


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