Friday, 31 October 2014

Exciting Beaford Arts Performance Developed in North Devon

Earlier this year five writers came to north Devon to explore what the rural environment means to its people. They got to know old farming families, incomers and returnees. They met rural life in mugs of tea at farmhouse kitchen tables, on windswept hills, under rusting barn roofs and from backies on a farmer's quad bike. These encounters and conversations fed the writing of The Common, a performance work of five dialogues about life and land. Two performers (Charlotte Melia and Martin Hyder) play ten characters examining their relationships with each other and the landscape which connects them with life itself. Rural arts organisation and cultural ambassadors for North Devon's Biosphere Reserve, Beaford Arts initiated this project. "In north Devon, we’ve always known the value of our land.” says Mark Wallace, Director of Beaford Arts “Now, as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and as one of Natural England’s Nature Improvement Areas, we’re increasingly under the national and international spotlight. But it’s the rural communities, living with the land for generations, who made this landscape. This new show is about the values we still hold in common - about the voices which should still be heard." One of the five writers, Inua Ellams, came to north Devon to research the project. "It was a job of listening, of conversations that were heart breaking, overwhelming, passionate and multilayered. When it came to writing, I didn't know where to start, but an idea crystallised after I met a farmer, his wife and two sons." "They told stories and anecdotes to illustrate how complicated a process it would be. How there are some aspects of the land that simply cannot be valued, that are (by that definition) priceless. He referred to us as townies, and he and his colleagues as country folk. He did not like townies. As a black African I'm used to prejudice, I found it refreshing, dare I say thrilling, to be prejudiced because of where I lived rather than the colour of my skin. As we talked and I asked the right questions, he began to relax and slowly 'you townies' became 'those townies'. We 'othered' them so we could point and laugh." Talking about her part in the development process, another of the writing team, Charlotte Josephine explains "The piece I wrote was mainly inspired by meeting photographer Rosie Anderson. I read her charming ‘personal post on a place called home’ on her website on the train down and knew we’d be friends. Her passionate post about the closing of Hatherleigh Market really struck a chord with me. It’s heartbreaking when we sacrifice tradition, community and culture for financial gain." 

 Photo: Writer Hattie Naylor with Dolton farmer John Lock

The Common will be performed in Dolton on Friday 14 November and Hatherleigh on Saturday 15 November. Tickets are free but limited so booking is essential.  Details below:

Dolton Village Hall, Friday 14 November 2014 at 7.30 pm Tickets FREE but must be reserved via Beaford Arts,, telephone 01769 572573, collect from The Royal Oak, Dolton
Hatherleigh Community Centre, Saturday 15 November 2014 at 7.30 pm Tickets FREE but must be reserved via Beaford Arts,, telephone 01769 572573, collect from Hatherleigh Community Centre
 "What is our rural landscape worth to us?" - five conversations - one play - The Common  Beaford Arts and China Plate present The Common.

Beaford Arts 
China Plate

Monday, 20 October 2014

Ben Howard releases his new album, I Forget Where We Were

I Forget Where We Were was produced by Ben’s drummer Chris Bond at Start Point Farm Studios in Devon, and follows the huge success of his million selling, Mercury Prize nominated debut album, Every Kingdom, in 2011. In 2013, Ben capped a fantastic two years, by picking up two Brit Awards for British Breakthrough and British Solo Male Artist. A dark, dramatic return, I Forget Where We Were was recorded almost completely live, and its rawness matches the emotion of Ben’s words and vocal. It’s a bold, uncompromising listen and an incredibly assured body of work by one of Britain’s most successful young musicians of recent years.

‘I Forget Where We Were’ Tracklisting: 

Small Things
Rivers In Your Mouth
I Forget Where We Were
In Dreams
She Treats Me Well
Time Is Dancing
End Of The Affair
All Is Now Harmed

Since the announcement of Ben’s new record, with the sprawling eight minute introduction of End of the Affair, both parts of his upcoming UK and Irish tour sold-out in under two hours.

Ben Howard Live UK & Ireland:
3rd December – The Apollo, Manchester SOLD OUT
4th December – Civic, Wolverhampton SOLD OUT
6th December – Usher Hall, Edinburgh SOLD OUT
7th December – Olympia, Dublin SOLD OUT
10th December – Brixton Academy, London SOLD OUT
11th December – Brixton Academy, London SOLD OUT

Ben Howard releases his new album, I Forget Where We Were, on the 20th October 2014 through Island Records. It is preceded with a single of the same title on the 13th October. 
I Forrget Where We Were - Ben Howard available on iTunes
End of the Affair - I Forget Where We Were available on iTunes

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Hold it Down are thrilled to bring Craig Charles back to the South West for a Halloween special at The Factory in Barnstaple. The Craig Charles Funk and Soul show is the longest running show on BBC6 Music and has the highest audience share of any programme on the network. His club DJ shows bring you the same eclectic mix of songs covering Northern Soul, Funk, Soul and modern remixes

Support from
  • The Blue Bottles (Live)
  • Matt Anderson
  • Fajita kunk 
Doors open at 8pm
Advance tickets: from £12.50 (subject to booking fee)
Physical tickets available from: Beats Workin, 6 Queens Street, Barnstaple.

Online tickets available from:
Over 18s event

Charity worker plugs gap for butterflies

One of the commonest complaints heard in the 21st century world of work is that people now have to take their work home with them. But a team member from a leading Devon environmental charity has now taken this modern phenomenon to a new level. Kate Langdon has spent the last 8 years working for Devon Wildlife Trust - the charity which looks after 50 nature reserves and which works for the county's precious wildlife and landscapes. Kate is part of Devon Wildlife Trust's Working Wetlands team. Part of the team's work has been restoring wildlife flower meadows in north-west Devon in a project supported by Biffa Award's Flagship Scheme, a multi-million pound fund which awards grants to community and environmental projects across the UK. One species of plant they've been especially keen to re-establish is the Devil's-bit scabious. This beautiful wildflower plays a key role in supporting other local wildlife and is especially important because it's the food source of the internationally endangered marsh fritillary butterfly. However, the team's attempts in the past to re-introduce the flower using commercially bought seed have met with disappointing results - out of 4,000 seeds used last year only four germinated! This predicament led Kate and her partner Simon Tomasso, who also works for The Trust, to pioneer a different approach taking it upon themselves to raise the delicate plants in their own back yard using seed gathered locally from DWT's Volehouse Moor and Ashmoor nature reserves. That way Kate could make sure they received the just right levels of water, sunlight and tender loving care. However, as Kate explained, bringing her work home with her did mean the baby plants came to dominate the family's garden and their lives: 'It has felt like a real sense of achievement getting these plants to germinate in such large quantities, and it will be very exciting to see if they have all taken to their new homes, the results of which we will see next year. I have enjoyed watching the plants grow, but I can't say I will miss watering and tending to them like I have all summer!' Kate's efforts were boosted by help from nearby Petroc College in Barnstaple. Students from the college also grew plugs and together the home-grown approach has met with success. At one stage in the summer Kate's garden contained 1,300 plug plants and now the vast majority have grown into healthy wildflowers. This autumn DWT staff set about the back breaking job of hand planting each of the plugs into two sites near Devon Wildlife Trust's Mambury and Volehouse Moor nature reserves, both in north-west Devon. The sites were chosen for their strategic importance as places that represent gaps between existing populations of marsh fritillary butterflies. Kate and the team's hope is that by next summer the plants will have grown and the butterflies will be enjoying them.
 'Devil's-bit scabious plant plugs dominated Devon Wildlife Trust's Kate Langdon's garden 
and home life'  - Photo copyright DWT (All rights reserved)
 'Devon Wildlife Trust staff begin the back breaking task of planting out the plugs by hand' 
Photo copyright DWT (All rights reserved)

Monday, 13 October 2014

Wildlife charity wins international 'green' award

One of the South West's leading charities has been awarded a top environmental award. Devon Wildlife Trust, whose main headquarters is in Exeter and bases at Wembury (near Plymouth) and Cookworthy (near Great Torrington), demonstrated its commitment to environmental management recently by becoming the first county wildlife trust to gain the prestigious ISO - international standard accreditation. Many businesses are committed to reducing their environmental impacts, but few have taken the time and made the investment to gain the coveted ISO14001 award. Devon Wildlife Trust's Stuart Hodgkiss was the man given the task to guiding the charity through the vigorous accreditation process. Stuart said: "Getting ISO status meant implementing an Environmental Management System which means we took a long look at every bit of the running of our charity and focussed on minimising the impacts of the activities which cause most environmental harm." The process highlighted several areas for improvement; emissions from vehicle use, the amount of fossil fuels used to heat and power the charity's buildings and the amount of waste it sent to landfill, were all things the process uncovered. Stuart continued: "We now place a focus on considerate vehicle use, replacing our cars with cleaner vehicles where possible and to promote car sharing and the use of public transport. We are also educating our staff on reducing energy use and actively seek alternative energy for our buildings to compliment the hydro turbine and air source heating already employed at some of our offices. We also now measure our waste on a monthly basis and set targets for reduction to landfill. We have increased recycling facilities at all sites and our HQ at Cricklepit Mill has become our first 'Zero to Landfill' office, by using Devon County Council's Energy from Waste Facility." Now the work begins in ensuring that Devon Wildlife Trust maintains its ISO status. With this in mind the charity has agreed a set of yearly pledges which include: 
* Reduce CO2 emissions from vehicle use by one tonne 
* Conserve energy to cut reliance on fossil fuels by 1 tonne of CO2 
* Reduce waste to landfill from the charity's offices by ½ tonne in the first six months. 
* Install rainwater harvesting at one of the charity's sites 
* Conserve natural resources by reducing the use of paper hand towels at the charity's Cricklepit Mill headquarters 
* Protect watercourses by equipping each of the charity's offices with new portable and workshop spill kits to ensure that any accidental spills can be contained 
* Install new bicycle storage facilities at Cricklepit Mill to increase capacity and encourage cycling to the site as an alternative to car use 
Stuart concluded: "As a charity whose mission is to protect Devon's environment we need to be seen to be greener than green. ISO accreditation gives us that." To find out more, visit the Devon Wildlife Trust website
 Photo copyright DWT (All rights reserved)

Friday, 10 October 2014

October Highlights. A celebration of North Devon Coast and Countryside events

How lucky were we to be still basking in sunshine on the North Devon Coast throughout September, a summer of supermoons, spectacular sunsets and sunrises. For camera-happy lovers of the coast and countryside like me there is never a bad time for a walk along the beach or waiting for the golden glow of Autumn in a wooded valley or spotting fancy fungi in the fallen leaves. The Big Sheep will be bringing some sunshine to a normally gloomy month with some more family fun events including "Bonkers for Conkers, a Giant Veggie Competition and of course a Spooktacular Halloween Festival. It's harvest time, and there was a bumper crop of apples, gourds, pumpkins, squashes and vegetables in the kitchen garden at Rosemoor last weekend just in time for the annual Apple Day. Bringing the Octoberfest to a close is a Cider and Folk Festival at the Landmark in Ilfracombe and a Great Firework Display and Bonfire Celebration at Ilfracombe Rugby Club. Another lover of the countryside is artist Richard Long. His Contemporary Art in the Countryside ARTIST ROOMS On Tour will be running at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum until the 10th January 2015. For a night at the movies check out web sites for the Bideford Film Society or the Plough Arts Centre. As you all get ready for Guy Fawkes Night, remember, remember Don't Tidy up Mrs. Tiggy. The beginning of November is when hedgehogs normally settle down for  the winter so this is a time to be extra vigilant. Devon Wildlife Trust advise leaving bonfire building as late as possible.

11th October Bonkers for Conkers at the Big Sheep. Are you bonkers about conkers and think you have what it takes to become Devon’s first ever Conker Champion? If so, register now to take part in the 2014 Devon Conker Championships which is being held at the BIG Sheep in Bideford, on Saturday 11th October.

18th October GIANT Veggie Competition at the Big Sheep. Try your hand at gardening this year and enter our GIANT Veggie Competition - we will be on the look out for Vegetables of all shapes and size for our competition. If you would like to enter please email for an entry form

24th October FREE courses ‘All things wood-fuel’ this Autumn with Northern Devon NIA From 2015 all woodlands will only be eligible for grant aid if an approved management plan is in place. Learn what is required in the plan, how to access the grant and hear advice for those wishing to write the plan themselves or to contract the services of a professional. View details

25th October Halloween Festival at the Big Sheep "FUN BY DAY & SCARY BY NIGHT" HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL The South West's BIGGEST and BEST Halloween Festival. Halloween at The BIG Sheep promises to be the best yet! Enjoy the happy, fun side of Halloween at the "Fun by Day" Halloween or the spookey scary side at the Scary…

31st October Great Firework Display at Ilfracombe Rugby Club Bonfire and fireworks with disco and BBQ until late.

31st October to 2nd November Landmark Folk & Cider Festival. Local ciders, folk music and other entertainment.  

For more North Devon Events see Local Press: What's On North Devon Gazette - North Devon Journal

North Devon Tourist Information Centres
Barnstaple Tourist Information Centre, North Devon Museum, The Square, Barnstaple, North Devon, EX32 9LS
Bideford Tourist Information Centre, Burton Art Gallery, Kingsley Road, Bideford, EX39 2QQ 

Braunton Tourist Information Centre The Bakehouse Centre, Caen Street, Braunton, North Devon, EX33 1AA
Combe Martin Tourist Information Centre Cross Street, Combe Martin, North Devon, EX34 ODH 

Holsworthy Visitor Information Centre: The Memorial Hall, Holsworthy, 
Torrington Tourist Information Centre, Castle Hill, South Street, Torrington   
lfracombe Tourist Information Centre The Landmark Theatre, The Seafront, Ilfracombe, North Devon, EX34 9BX
Lynton Tourist Information Centre Lynton Town Hall, Lee Road, Lynton, North Devon, EX35 6HT T

South Molton Tourist Information  1 East Street, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3BU 
Woolacombe Tourist Information Centre The Esplanade, Woolacombe, North Devon, EX34 7DL 
 To add an event go to North Devon Focus Coast & Country Chronicle Community Calendar 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Reef will be playing The Factory, Barnstaple on Saturday 7th March as part of their 2015 UK tour

We can confirm the rumours bouncing around the North Devon area that Reef will be playing The Factory on Saturday 7th March as part of their 2015 UK tour with new guitarist Jesse Wood.  Even though all 4 members of REEF had West Country connections, it wasn't until each individual separately moved to London in 1993 that the band was born. Gary Stringer, Jack Bessant, Kenwyn House and Dominic Greensmith ended up living together on the outskirts of west London and using Gary's bedroom as their rehearsal room soon started touting for gigs. Within 6 months the band had attracted interest from many major record labels and soon recorded some demo's, which although financed by Sony offshoot S2, were released on 7 inch single using an independent mark during 1994. This single containing the songs 'good feeling' B/W 'choose to live' was picked up on by Paul Weller who offered the band a support slot on his 'wild wood' tour. REEF signed with Sony S2 later that year and were flown out to New York to record a TV advert for the then new technology of the Sony mini disc. 1995 saw REEF tour with Soundgarden and by invitation with The Rolling Stones as the band built up a reputation as electric live performers. 'good feeling' was released again, (this time through S2) and scored as the bands first of their 9 top 40 singles, preceding their gold selling debut album 'Replenish' which peaked at *9 in the UK charts.
In 1996 the band were able to show off their football skills as they entered and won the 2nd SOCCER SIX CUP, seeing off competition from Blur and Oasis, before beating Apollo 440 (the previous years winners) in the final. Work also started on the follow up to 'Replenish' in the form of the 1997 release 'Glow'. Produced by George Drakoulias, 'Glow' was recorded both at London's Abbey Road studios and Sound City in Los Angeles. On the week of it's release 'Glow' went straight to number 1 in the UK album charts and spawned the bands biggest hit 'place your hands' along with 3 other top 40 singles. The album also provided a platform for the band to tour all over the world as well as here at home, with REEF headlining the other stage at Glastonbury festival alongside appearances at Glasgow's T in the park and both V festivals. 
In early 1999 Reef released their third album 'Rides'. Recorded at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles (The Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' and Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' were also recorded here) and working again with 'Glow' producer George Drakoulias, the band set about making a more expansive sounding record, swapping instruments on some songs and adding new sounds on others (David Campbell the father of the American artist Beck, for example added the string arrangements for this work). The album reached *3 in the uk and contained the top 20 single 'I've got something to say'. 
The autumn of the year 2000 saw REEF release their fourth studio album 'Getaway' under the stewardship of a new producer, Al Clay (Pixies/Stereophonics). Although critically well received, this album didn't have the same commercial success as earlier REEF records but still made *15 in the album charts and included the upbeat hit 'set the record straight'. After successfully working 'Getaway' around the world for over a year REEF stepped off the touring circuit and disappeared to the West Country to concentrate on writing songs for a new record. Progress was leisurely, as REEF enforced their own pace on proceedings at arms length from the record label in London. 
During the last months of 2002 and reunited with George Drakoulias in Ocean way studios, REEF recorded 5 of these songs to tape. Released in early 2003 alongside the previous 9 top 40 hits and a cover of the apt Kenny Roger's song 'just dropped in (to see what condition my condition was in) these recordings made up the final REEF album 'Together'. Each member of the band has pursued their own musical path in various guises since 2003, (STRINGERBESSANT/ BLACK SWAN EFFECT/ GOLDRAY/THEM IS ME amongst others) but after over 6 years without playing as REEF, 2010 saw the band reunite for a run of sell out shows throughout the UK as well as slots at Glastonbury and the isle of Wight festivals.
In June 2012 REEF released an all-encompassing box set of the band's recorded work through Metropolis Music. In recent years the band have continued to play summer festivals and also added another successful UK tour at the end of 2013 along with recording what would be a last 2 songs with guitarist Kenwyn House at Distillery recording studios in Wiltshire. Approached by film director Heidi Greensmith to write new material for the forthcoming Vortex Pictures release "Winter", the band wrote the rock song 'Barking at trees' for the film and have backed it with the 2nd new song entitled "you got it". Both songs will be released on 7'' vinyl and cd single during November 2014. Deciding to concentrate solely on his band "GOLDRAY' Kenwyn House played his last show with REEF at Donington Park on April 20th 2014. Auditions were held in London and Somerset that same month and in May 2014 it was announced that Jesse Wood (the Ronnie Wood band/Faces/Red Racer) was to be the new guitarist for REEF. The band played their first show together on May 31st 2014 at Wychwood festival in Gloucestershire and have started work writing a new studio album.
Jack Bessant Dominic Greensmith Gary Stringer Jesse Wood 
REEF announce UK club tour for March 2015
Tickets: £16.50 + booking fee 
Age recommendation: All ages - under 16s to be accompanied by an adult. Doors: Saturday 7th March 2015 - 8pm 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Contemporary Art in the Countryside ARTIST ROOMS On Tour Richard Long at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum

The Burton Art Gallery and Museum is proud to present a public exhibition of works by the celebrated land artist Richard Long, as part of ARTIST ROOMS On Tour. In a career that now spans nearly 50 years, Richard Long, has tested the boundaries of art by creating a substantial and varied collection of work in which he has taken nature as his subject but also as the source of his materials. Credited with being closely associated with the emergence of a new art form, Land Art, Long won the Turner Prize in 1989 and is one of Britain’s most significant artists, living and working in his beloved West Country. Richard Long’s work is deep rooted in his affinity with nature, developed often during walks around the British countryside. Walking repetitively in a line, making a circle of pebbles, arranging sticks in their hundreds, using mud as paint and piling up stones are just some of the many ways in which Richard Long has interacted with the landscape. He was amongst a new generation of British artists who wanted to extend the possibilities of sculpture beyond the confines of traditional artists materials and he began to use natural materials such as clay, pine needles, driftwood, slate, mud and stones in his work. Long is renowned for documenting the experience of his walks with photographs, maps, wall drawings and printed statements, revealing patterns and observations with beauty, creativity and inspiration. As a student in 1967, Long completed ‘A Line Made By Walking’ – a photograph of a field edged by a wood showing a narrow strip of grass, flattened by the action of him repeatedly walking it. Richard Long has stated “I have the most profound feelings when I am walking, or touching natural materials in natural places.” Paradoxically he states that his work is a portrait of himself in the world, his personal journey through it and the materials he finds along the way. 
‘A Line Made by Walking’ is alongside other pieces in the exhibition which have a relationship to the South West; ‘Cornish Slate Ellipse’, 2009, and ‘Three Moors’ are included within this exhibition. The works on display at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d'Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 18 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014. The tour is made possible thanks to the support of Arts Council England and the Art Fund.
Warren Collum, Exhibitions and Collections Officer at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum said, “Right from the beginning of being involved with the ARTIST ROOMS programme, one of the artists I had in mind for The Burton was Richard Long. Many of the works in this exhibition have a direct connection to the South West environment. In particular, the works ‘Cut Slate Ellipse’ and ‘Three Moors’ will resonate strongly with our audiences encouraging them to connect with the materials that make up our environment, but in a totally different context – the gallery space.” Miranda Clarke, Visual Arts Manager at The Burton said, “We are delighted to be an associate partner as part of ARTIST ROOMS. This is a significant moment in the Burton’s 60+ year history, bringing the Richard Long exhibition to The Burton supports the original remit as set out by Hubert Coop and Thomas Burton, the founders of The Burton, in 1951. Recently on a visit to Tate Modern, travelling up the main escalators I glimpsed the 12foot high map of the UK, which shows where all the ARTIST ROOMS venues are this year. It was incredible to see ‘The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Bideford’ pinpointed. It made me proud of Bideford and of The Burton.” Richard Long’s work is a celebration of wild places that often lie hidden, just off the beaten track. He is an artist who has had a lifetime of joyful exploration and simple pleasures, exploring the relation of man and nature, expressing, in new ways, the beauty and fragility of this relationship.
A breakfast preview on Friday 3rd October was  hosted by the The High Sheriff of Devon, The Hon. John Rous. A second preview on Saturday 4th October was opened by the Visual Arts Manager at the Burton, Miranda Clarke with speeches from the Learning and Digital Manager, ARTIST ROOMS at Tate and National Galleries of Scotland, Christopher Ganley and Richard Long himself. Friends & supporters of the Burton, along with local business people, teachers & artists, press and bloggers attended both events.
 Photos copyright Lucy Goaman (All rights reserved)

Contemporary Art in the Countryside ARTIST ROOMS On Tour Richard Long 
4th October 2014 – 10th January 2015
Kingsley Road, Bideford EX39 2QQ 
(e) (t) 01237 471455
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm. Sunday 11am - 4pm.
The Burton Art Gallery also hosts regular art activities for children and teenagers, allowing them the opportunity to discover their creative side and get artistically active themselves. 
Visit for further details.  
To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit
 To see the full ARTIST ROOMS collection please visit and

New training scheme to help combat skills shortage

A new training programme 'Wildlife Skills' has been awarded £829,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), allowing four Wildlife Trusts in the South West to train 46 aspiring conservationists over the next three years. The scheme is designed to address the skills shortages within the South West conservation sector, and has already appointed 16 trainees based at Devon Wildlife Trust, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust. Each will focus on one of three areas; practical conservation, survey & monitoring or volunteer and community engagement. As well as gaining formal qualifications, the trainees will receive complimentary training in transferable skills to enhance their future employability and consolidate their learning by working with Wildlife Trust staff. 'Wildlife Skills' Coordinator, Dr Rachel Janes, said: "This new scheme will give those interested in wildlife a real insight into working in conservation, from learning about communications in the media, to gaining their chainsaw qualifications. After they have completed their year-long placement, trainees will have the skills and confidence to take their careers forward in the work place. The wildlife trusts involved are delighted to be part of this programme, and are grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which has helped make it happen." Luke Workman, Wildlife Skills volunteer & engagement trainee based at Devon Wildlife Trust said : "A special moment for me was introducing a rockpool crab to a child for the first time, it was great to see the fear of holding the creature be replaced with a fascination and excitement for wildlife. I realised that some of the animals I take for granted, other people have never encountered before. What a privilege it is to be the first person to help this little girl meet a crab for the first time!" Beth Aucott, Wildlife Skills practical conservation trainee based at Somerset Wildlife Trust said: "The most exciting thing for me so far, apart from seeing my first wild otter, has been working with the people who are so passionate about looking after wildlife. I have already learnt so much; I've improved my identification skills, honed and learnt new practical skills, such as brushcutting, and learnt about grants, working with graziers and management plans." 
The scheme aims to diversify the future of conservation by providing opportunities for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly young people and those in transitional phases of their lives and careers. New placements will be available in summer 2015. For more information about the training scheme please visit