In April 2008 the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust was awarded a three and a half year grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to set up the Community Earth Heritage Champions Project. Additional funding was also received from Natural England through Defra’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Tomlinson Brown Trust.
The Community Earth Heritage Champions Project has involved communities across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
Each of the nineteen geological sites chosen for the project has a Champions community group carrying out conservation work, promoting the use of the site to other people in their parish and monitoring the site for any changes in condition.
The idea of the project is to take a holistic view of the environment and to understand the relationships between geology, ecology and archaeology. The Champions have received training in a number of subjects in order to understand the features observed at their site; knowledge which they will now pass on to new volunteers. The conservation work being undertaken will help to ensure the protection of these important features and enable people to enjoy the natural world for years to come.
Although the funding has now come to an end, the project will continue thanks to the help of local volunteers.
If you are interested in finding out more about the project, would like to visit a Champions Site near you or are interested in volunteering opportunities available through the project then please visit the dedicated Community Earth Heritage Champions website.
The Community Earth Heritage Champions Project received matched funding from Natural England through Defra’s Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund in order to produce management plans for six of the Champions sites, as well as the production of a variety of interpretation materials including leaflets and information panels. Large-scale site work was also carried out at two of the Champions sites thanks to this funding.
More information about the Community Earth Heritage Champions Project can be found on the dedicated website.
The project, located within the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, aimed to utilise the newly launched Geopark Way long distance walking trail as a means to highlight the aggregate sites and their associated industry along its 109 mile length. The project was supported by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
The aims of the project were to:
- To research and publish a booklet entitled ‘Exploring aggregates along the Geopark Way’. Click here for more details.
- To devise three circular short walking trails, leading from the Geopark Way trail, to aggregate sites and to publish associated trail leaflets. click here for more details.
- To provide interpretation panels for Chase End Quarry, Malvern Hills and the Geology Garden area of Chantry High School, Martley
- To print the Abberley and Malvern Hills, British Geological Survey drawn, geology map. click here for more details.
- To write management plans for three aggregates sites found on or near the Geopark Way trail or the Geopark Way circular trail.
- To provide geology and landscape displays, with reference to local aggregate sites for use in community areas.
- To involve communities along the length of the trail in the research aspect of the aggregate booklet, in the development of the circular trails and the promotion and publicity of the aggregates project.
- To enthuse local communities to explore their local accessibleaggregate sites and to provide talks and guided walks relating to the aggregates along the length of the trail to community groups and individuals involved in the project and for the wider community.
- To improve accessibility along the trails through increased signage and path improvements.
- To establish a Geopark Way Trail Watch Scheme.
The aims of the Geopark Way project were to establish a long distance Landscape and Geology walking trail through the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark, and to write and publish an accompanying trail guide.
The project was conceived from the aspiration to highlight geology, landscape and associated heritage within the Abberley and Malvern Hills Geopark and to make these accessible to all.
In 2006 the project commenced, supported under the England Rural Development Programme by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund. Together, Gloucestershire Geology Trust and the Earth Heritage Trust researched a suitable trail route through the Geopark; one which would allow the geological story of the Geopark to be told and also be a pleasant, enjoyable walk. Later the trail guide was written.
Throughout the life of the project many obstacles had to be overcome. Financial aid from Advantage West Midlands helped us navigate our way around the setbacks caused by the floods of 2007. The time, support and knowledge offered by community groups and organisations were of great help in allowing this unique trail and project to be realised. More information about the guide and the trail are available here.
A three week consultation was undertaken during April 2008 on a proposed national standard for monitoring the condition of Regionally Important Geological/Geomorphological Sites (RIGS). A PDF document summarising the results of the consultation is available for download.
In June 2002, the Trust received from the Heritage Lottery Fund an award of £100,000 over 3 years to develop an Earth Heritage Education Programme. The project involved locating and developing 12 new trails and designing and printing 12 new trail guides. A number of interpretation panels illustrating the geology and landscape of Herefordshire and Worcestershire were also installed. In more detail this involved:
- The design, production and siting of information boards at relevant locations. The design and printing of trail guides and of simple information/educational leaflets.
- Ensuring that the guides, leaflets and interpretation boards gave clear and concise details relating to rocks, minerals, fossils and landscapes in the countryside and in the built environment. Links to biodiversity and archaeology were also included.
- Ensuring that the countryside trails were based on public rights of way.
- Making the guides available to the general public via Tourist Information Centres, museums, countryside centres and bookshops.
- Promoting interest amongst the general public and increasing tourism in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. … → Read More
In 2000 the Trust on behalf of the Western Association (WA) constructed and submitted a successful bid to the Department of the Environment Transport and Regions (DETR) for project funding from their Environmental Action Fund. This project allowed the Western Association to distribute some £9500 to each of the partner groups (Avon RIGS Group, Gloucestershire Geoconservation, Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, Oxfordshire RIGS Group, Shropshire RIGS Group, Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group and Wiltshire RIGS Group) for their share of the combined workload of the Association programme. The total project costs including ‘in kind’ matched funding was £136,000 of which DETR contributed 50%. The project has been innovative in being the first example of a collaborative bid to achieve a joint goal by local geoconservation groups in the UK. It has proved an unqualified success and has not only lead to the WA making further joint funding it has hopefully, encouraged other groups around the country to follow this same route. … → Read More
The development of geological and landscape trails in Herefordshire and Worcestershire
is well underway, with the first publications now available. The intention is
to highlight the unique Earth heritage that the counties of Herefordshire and
Worcestershire have, and bring this to the attention of the public. The aims
of the project are:
- To design and print 26 trail guides illustrating the geology and landscape
of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.
- To design, produce and site information
boards at relevant locations.
- To ensure that the guides and boards give
understandable details relating to rocks, minerals, fossils and landscapes
in the countryside and in the built environment.
Countryside trails predominate in the series, however the built environment
also provides an excellent forum for education about geology. The Town and
Cathedral trails in Hereford and Worcester provide information about building
stones used. They give details of both local and far-travelled stone – their
type, reasons for use and in some cases method of transport.
It is planned to produce the following 26 landscape and building stones trails
during the next 5 years, some of which are listed below.
- Glacial Lake Wigmore
- Hereford Cathedral
- Hereford City Centre
- Goodrich Castle
- Symonds Yat
- Woolhope Dome
- Eastnor Castle and Estate
- Woolhope Dome
- Black Mountains
- Ledbury Hills
- Wye Gorge
- River Lugg & Presteigne Basin
- Kington and Hergest
- Worcester Cathedral
- Bredon Hill
- Lickey Hills
- Worcester City Centre
- Great Malvern
- Malvern Hills (1)
- Malvern Hills (2)
- Bewdley Town Centre
- Severn Valley Railway
- Broadway and surrounding area
- Clent Hills
- Abberley Hills
- The Wyche and Purlieu
Funding for the trails project is currently being provided by Heritage Lottery
Fund, LEADER+ and Wye valley AONB. In addition grants have been obtained from
Severn Waste Environmental Fund and a smaller grant from Hanson Environment
Fund (Hanson is administered through RSNC). SWEF and Hanson are both part of
the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. Funding has also been provided by the European
Union through the LEADER Herefordshire Hills programme. Both Worcestershire
and Herefordshire County Councils have contributed to the project with both
cash and expertise. We are grateful to all these organisations and individuals
within them for continued support.
The trails are marketed through Tourist Information Centres, Countryside Centres,
shops local to each trail, bookshops, museums, and they are available directly
from us at £1.95 (please make cheques payable to Hereford and Worcester
Earth Heritage Trust).
For more information about the trails, and to download an order form, go to
the 'Explore' Trail Guides section.
Nationally as well as locally, there tends to be a bias towards geological RIGS, with few sites of geomorphological interest designated. In an attempt to redress the balance in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the Trust has completed a ‘Fluvial Sites Project’, aiming to identify sites which relate to the fluvial geomorphology (past and present) of the two counties. The reasons behind this focus on fluvial geomorphology are twofold: Firstly, rivers form a fundamental component of the British landscape and an understanding of landscape would thus be incomplete without at least some appreciation of fluvial geomorphology. Secondly, everyone has some experience of rivers. One of our primary goals is to encourage awareness and appreciation of Earth heritage, and rivers provide a potential ‘way in’ to Earth science which should be explored.
Herefordshire and Worcestershire lie almost entirely within the Severn-Wye drainage basin, and so we looked at sites to illustrate, or are instrumental in the understanding of, the development of the drainage basin and its present form. Thus geological controls, the influence of past glaciations and contemporary fluvial processes are all included. One advantage of this approach is that some ‘non-fluvial’ geomorphology sites were also highlighted in the process.
The project involved a desk-top study of solid and superficial geology and their influence on drainage patterns, and a literature search investigating the fluvial history and development of the two counties. This, combined with simple map work, provided some insight into the present-day geomorphology to be found in the counties. Any additional published information on the rivers was also gathered, and schools were contacted to find out which ‘river sites’ were already used for educational purposes. The result of this work is a list of sites or areas which warrant further investigation. Field visits to each of these enabled an initial assessment of which sites deserve consideration for RIGS designation. The final outcome of the project was specific fluvial (and other) geomorphology sites for designation as RIGS, with sufficient background information to place these sites within the context of the drainage basin. This project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, DETR and the British Geomorphological Research Group.
Tthe Trust is to develop this further. An assessment has been made of the potential of Herefordshire rivers to provide regionally important sites and to feature in public awareness programmes. The Rivers Wye, Lugg and Teme and their tributaries are to be surveyed to establish the extent of important geomorphological features both dynamic and ancient with a view to recording these scientific attributes and adding them to the Trust’s existing geoconservation database. This will further the knowledge of the fluvial systems in Herefordshire and enable the development of management programmes that address conservation and public use. A major outcome will be a better understanding of local dynamic river processes. All of the information accumulated in the first phase of the project will then be used to develop public awareness programmes aimed specifically at Earth heritage.
The Unitary Development Plan for Herefordshire requires the designation of Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites (RIGS). This work is carried out by the Trust and the information passed on to the County Council. Although progress has been good over the last 2 years there is a considerable lack of fluvial RIGS in the archive. This project seeks to address this shortfall in that a large number of river RIGS will be identified and designated (perhaps as many as 20). Furthermore there is a significant need to educate the public about the processes that lead to the formation of rivers and their associated landscape features. Such awareness proposals which will include schoolchildren, will enhance the understanding and sustainable use of these landscapes. Furthermore a sustainable tourist element will be introduced.
Such aspects as river valley topography, fluvial deposits, erosive processes and features, flood plain development, river hydrology, geological influences and ancient river landscapes will all be incorporated into the development of trails, site interpretation panels and publications for public use. The trails will follow public rights of way and will be chosen for impact and safety. Site interpretation panels will be located at prominent points. The publications will adopt the format successfully used by the Trust to date. The local community will be encouraged to participate in the production of the trails and to develop a watching brief for identified sites of importance. As well as the local community, schools will be encouraged to use the trails to assist in key stage 2 and 3 work. Marketing of the guides will help bring tourism to the areas in question – a process that has proved successful in other areas where trail guides have been produced by the Trust.
Dr. Peter Oliver with a school group at Bewdley Museum Rock & Fossil Roadshow.
In 2002 the Trust ran a pilot scheme of Rock and Fossil Roadshows and Family Fun Days at several localities in the two counties. These proved very popular. It is important to make children, adults and communities aware of their geological heritage. Once they are introduced to geology they will appreciate the rocks and landscape features around them and wish to conserve these for future generations. The National Curriculum does contain a certain amount of geology at Key Stage 2. Many teachers do not feel that they have sufficient knowledge to deal with this section. If children are introduced to geology by someone with enthusiasm about the subject it can lead to a life long interest in rocks, minerals fossils, geomorphology and the landscape around. In a two-hour session groups of 8 or less take part in a variety of games and activities. Schools are given a set of rock samples and information on rocks, fossils and minerals to take away with them. Schools have found the sessions very useful and there are never enough places for all those who wish to attend. Children like the activities and have written letters saying how much they have enjoyed themselves. In school once their interest is stimulated they bring in specimens to show what they have found for themselves. After they have been taught even a little geology they become aware of the rocks in their own environment and look at things they would never have previously noticed.
Family Fun Days are for parents and their children. There are similar games and activities to the Rock and Fossil Roadshows and also the opportunity to look at rocks under the microscope and to bring in specimens for identification. These sessions are very well attended. Children enjoy the activities and parents are happy to find out more so that they can answer their children’s questions.
The Trust is now seeking funding to help set up a permanent programme. The latter will still depend on volunteers but paid officers will secure the project and bring in more volunteers. Funding will also help in the development of new and better activities. If successful in our application for financial support a programme will be initiated that provides Roadshows every month at museums, libraries, village halls, country parks and similar locations. People will be encouraged to become members and volunteers for the Trust and new activities will be developed such as volcanoes, dinosaurs, fossil painting and coal measure forests.