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South Devon AONB


75


Diane Lethbridge COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER


What is your role? I make sure everyone is aware of the good work the AONB is doing. So I distribute press releases to the media and promote our activities, new projects and events on social media.


How long have you been with


the AONB? 15 years.


With so much interest in climate change, plastics and recycling, is there more media interest in the work of the AONB? Yes. If we are doing a beach clean or something to do with the cleanliness of our estuaries, people are more interested than 10 years ago.


How important is the work of


the AONB? South Devon would look very different if there was no AONB. This area is so special and it’s our job to conserve and enhance its natural beauty. We do it for those who live and work here and for visitors.


South Devon was designated as an AONB in 1960, which means next year we will be celebrating our diamond anniversary and organising some special projects and events.


Which AONB events are most


popular? We always get a lot of interest in our farm events like Lambing Sunday with the Bond family at Collaton Down and Open Farm Sunday. People are much more interested in where their food comes from nowadays. Families like to get hands on and see animals on a working farm rather than as ‘yard furniture’ in a tourist attraction.


People love to walk - we have over 40 circular walks of varying lengths downloadable from our website. We give everyone all the information they need - from where the nearest


“South Devon would look very different if there was no AONB.”


hedgerows less frequently they become a better habitat for bugs, bats and birds.


Do you go on work outings? We organise a site visit with a walk each December followed by a Christmas lunch.


Ideal Saturday night… Fish and chips at Start Bay Inn Torcross and a walk along the beach.


toilets are to the best lunch spots along the way!


Best part of the job? There are views that you just can’t see from the road and I love telling people what’s on the other side of the hedge! You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a wonderful day out in South Devon. Walking, bug hunts, beach cleans, rock pooling – they’re all free.


It’s great to get fresh air in your lungs – and research shows it can really improve peoples’ physical and mental health.


Where did you work before? The food group Taste of the West. I helped small producers in the South West to expand their markets, running campaigns and Meet the Buyer events.


Have you always been into


‘the outdoors’? I grew up on a farm and my husband is a dairy farmer, so yes! I enjoy any farming projects. Through our Avon Valley Farmers Group we help farmers apply for Countryside Stewardship, which gives them money to manage their land in a way that benefits wildlife.


For example if they cut their


Best place to dine… I do like the Ship Inn at Ugborough – there’s always a warm welcome and they use the best local suppliers. You can’t beat Alfs in Dartmouth for breakfast.


What’s on your bucket list? To see a tiger on safari and visit Niagara Falls.


Did you have a ‘pipe dream’


alternative career? I’ve always quite fancied being an actor, perhaps in a period drama.


Pets? Three cats called Splash, Tigger and Flint. They were meant to be farm cats but they have all managed to sneak their way inside over the years! I also help look after my daughter’s horse Paddy who’s a retired race horse.


If you want to get involved with the South Devon AONB go to www.southdevonaonb. org.uk


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