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.
The following areas were explored as possible locations for the 12 trails: Hereford Cathedral, Hereford City Centre, Eastnor Estate, Black Mountains, Woolhope Dome, Lickey Hills, Malvern Hills, Bredon Hill, Worcester City Centre, Abberley Hills, Cotswold Escarpment, Forest of Wyre and Rivers Severn and Teme.
In addition schools, were encouraged to be involved in Key stage 2 to attend our indoor ‘Rock and Fossil’ events to find out more about the trails programme and incorporate this into schools work. The Group saw this educational aspect as a major part of the proposal and a means of promoting Earth heritage and Geoconservation at an early age.
There was also a full programme of volunteer surveying and development; in particular visitor research and trail testing, and in addition site assessments will include links to archaeology and biology.