Youth Rangers are GO in the Wye Valley

Firelighting is an essential survival skill
Firelighting is an essential survival skill

The natural landscape and ancient industrial past of the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty  (AONB) is to be explored by a group of young people in a innovative two-year ‘youth rangers’ project made possible by a grant of £23,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Managed by the Wye Valley AONB Partnership, the project will recruit 15 young people aged 14-16 years and provide them with a range of skills to enable understanding of their local environment.  Working in the Wye Valley AONB the young people will be involved in a range of tasks at several local sites which include the River Wye itself, Iron Age hill forts –at Yat Rock and Little Doward, a former iron and wireworks at the Angidy Valley, and award-winning farms.

The young participants, working with the AONB partnership and voluntary groups, will learn about biodiversity, conservation, heritage and recreation and will undertake surveys of the area’s rich wildlife and habitats, explore land management techniques, the navigation of the Wye and the development of tourism, and will acquire skills including stonewalling, hedge laying and woodcraft.  During the project  they will discover the techniques of putting a Youth Ranger DVD together, with assistance from an online TV company. This will be made aim to encourage teenagers to take an interest in their heritage and the natural environment. A celebration event will showcase their achievements in a series of workshops run by the youth rangers.

Anne Jenkins, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands ,explained;

‘The engagement of young people is vital for the future of environmental conservation. This project will introduce them to a beautiful and fascinating area of both natural and industrial heritage and also leave them with a range of new skills.”

Wye Valley AONB Project Leader, Sarah Sawyer was thrilled with the new project:

This is a fantastic opportunity to engage young people in a meaningful way and enable them to become future champions for their local countryside and heritage.’

If you fancy a go at a bushcraft session , Sarah will be organising one at the Monmouthshire show at the Countryside Matters marquee on Thursday August 25.  For youngsters who want to find out more about the Youth Rangers Project a taster day has been arranged for Saturday, October 15 where activities can be sampled.  If you are interested in this event and the Youth Rangers project then please visit the Wye Valley AONB website or call Andrew Nixon 01600 710841 email


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