My week of work experience

 In Get involved, National Landscape updates, Volunteering

Monday 3 July

On my first day of work experience at the Blackdown Hills AONB, I met with Abby Wilkinson, community engagement ranger, and Jane Robertson, Farming in Protected Landscapes officer, they gave me an introduction to the Blackdown Hills AONB and to the office. Jane and I went out on site visits to local farms in Yarcombe and Churchinford to do some Hedgerow Management and see what schemes could be put in place to help recover the hedgerows and increase their biodiversity. I found this interesting as it gave me an insight to how farmland in the AONB is managed and how local farmers are supported.

Tuesday 4 July

On the second day, I went out on a site visit to Dumpdon Hill with Abby where we met with Lucy, a National Trust ranger. We looked at ways to conserve and protect the archaeology underneath Dumpdon Hill while still having an abundance of wildlife on top and surrounding the hill. We then got hot chocolate to shelter from the rain and spent the afternoon handing out leaflets in Honiton to help bring more awareness to the Blackdown Hills AONB for the public.

Wednesday 5 July

In the morning I was in the office where I took part in a webinar for improving peoples mental health by being outdoors in nature and how this could be achieved in the Blackdown Hills and surrounding areas. In the afternoon I went out with Lisa Turner, the AONB’s planning officer, where we went on different site visits, surveying the land to see if the proposed buildings were appropriate for the land and wouldn’t obscure the beauty of the Blackdown Hills. Later in the day we went to a farm in Stockland to see how a wildflower meadow and orchard that had been planted a few years ago had grown and improved, we then also went to Membury Castle to see how the clearance of some surrounding trees has improved the visuals of the area.

Thursday 6 July

View of trees in amongst hills

View of the Quantock Hills

We had an early 8.30am start as Abby and I drove to the Quantock Hills to meet up with Volunteer Rangers. We went on a walk through the Hills looking at the cairns and making sure they were still visible landmarks. We picked up any litter along the way, although it was quite litter free. I really enjoyed my time with the volunteer rangers as they were sharing their knowledge with me, of the area and of ecological surveys for animals such as Adders and Butterflies.

Friday 7 July

I spent today in the office with Clare Groom, the Communications Officer at Blackdown Hills AONB. I spent the day writing my blog and the learning about the website.

I have had a wonderful time in my week of work experience as it has given me an opportunity to experience working in nature and with a team of professionals, it has also given me an insight into what careers and jobs are available for working within the environment. Thank you to everyone from the Blackdown Hills and Quantock Hills AONBs and the volunteers for helping me throughout the week and making my work experience really enjoyable.

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