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The sidebar is always accessible for you to get in touch, start a conversation or connect with us via social media or our newsletter.
UPDATED Position Statement - The Development of Offshore Renewable Energy in the Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea
NORTH DEVON UNESCO BIOSPHERE INCLUDED IN UNIQUE UK UNESCO SITES ON NEW ILLUSTRATED MAP
Ignite your summer adventures and discover the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, alongside 57 other unique UNESCO sites in the UK and crown dependencies thanks to a newly illustrated map, now available to download for free from the UK National Commission for UNESCO.
From expansive mountain ranges and stunning coastlines to vibrant cities and rural landscapes - the UK's UNESCO sites are destinations of world-class natural and cultural heritage. For the first time a map, designed by the creative cartographer Tom Woolley, brings together all of the Biosphere Reserves, Creative Cities, Global Geoparks and World Heritage Sites across the British Isles that are waiting to be discovered.
Visitors to the sites are invited to immerse themselves in the spectacular vistas of the slate landscape of Northwest Wales or the Scottish Highlands. Dive into the literary heritage of Manchester or Edinburgh. Scale the mountains of the English Lake District or the peaks of Fforest Fawr. Uncover legends and folklore along the Giant's Causeway or Stonehenge. Breathe in the sea air of Brighton and Lewes, North Devon or the English Riviera. Tackle the northernmost frontiers of the Roman empire by foot or by bike. Stroll around one of the great spa towns of Europe in Bath or a landed estate at Blenheim Palace. And dance the night away in an iconic concert hall in Belfast or at a festival under the stars at one of the world's largest deep space observatories at Jodrell Bank.
The new map, released online this week, includes 29 World Heritage Sites, 13 Creative Cities, 9 Global Geoparks and 7 Biosphere Reserves that cover 13% of the UK’s landmass. Most of the sites are free to enter and conveniently accessible by public transport offering the public new experiences to discover UNESCO sites in the UK and mark this summer with a visit to one of the world’s most special places.
James Bridge, Chief Executive and Secretary-General of the UK National Commission for UNESCO said: “This new UNESCO in the UK map will inspire people for places to visit. It shows at a glance the breadth of amazing natural, cultural and built heritage designated by UNESCO as internationally significant in the UK. This great map highlights places to explore, on your doorstep and further afield, both the famous and those to discover for the first time.”
Stuart McLeod, Director of England - London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are delighted to support this project which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will help to inspire more people to visit the fantastic UNESCO sites across the UK. Heritage has a huge role to play in bringing people together and any way that we can enable and inspire this to happen is hugely positive.”
Andy Bell, CEO of North Devon UNESCO Biosphere added: “As one of the seven Biosphere Reserves featured on the map, we are delighted to see a national drive for more visitors to the UNESCO sites across the UK to interact with the special qualities each one has. Once here in northern Devon, visitors can use our web app ‘North Devon Explorer’ which highlights the fantastic experiences available in the area, while helping to reduce pressure on the popular hotspots: www.northdevonexplorer.com.”
The map was produced by the UK National Commission for UNESCO as part of its Local to Global project, made possible with the GREAT Campaign and The National Lottery Heritage Fund, with thanks to National Lottery players. Local to Global aims to develop a resilient network for UNESCO Designated Sites in the UK.
The map can be downloaded from: https://unesco.org.uk/our-sites
The exceptional beauty of the North Devon coastline and seascape draws visitors from across the globe. It’s national and international importance is recognised through the many designated features and its status as part of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere. Last year, the North Devon Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme was launched as an online scheme with opportunities for both businesses and individual operators to be recognised, and supported, as ambassadors for responsible wildlife interactions.
The previous scheme was a great success, as described by Andrew Bengey, Skipper of Obsession II “We have found the accreditation scheme very useful and informative, we found that it attracted more customers for us due to us displaying the poster for accreditation and many of our customers ask what it involved and why we wanted to be involved. As skippers and crew, being happy to share our knowledge has helped others around the coast.”
Through funding from the Environment Agency’s Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) Fund, the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere are hosting two in-person training and accreditation sessions on Thursday 9th March at The Burton Art Gallery in Bideford (morning) and The Lantern in Ilfracombe (afternoon).
Andy Bell, the Manager of North Devon UNESCO Biosphere told us “We are very pleased to be able to host in-person sessions this year, which we were unable to do in early 2022. It is up to us all to protect our marine and coastal life and to make sure that both the species and visitors benefit from interactions.”
The importance of the training also raises awareness of the fragility of our wonderful marine life as Derek Green, Manager of Lundy Island explained “Recreational disturbance to our wonderful marine species and the threat of incursion by rodents over in Lundy is a huge concern. The training provided through this accreditation scheme not only gives members a wide knowledge, that supports their businesses, but also creates ambassadors for our natural marine life, safeguarding all their futures.”
The North Devon Marine Wildlife Aware Accreditation Scheme is designed for local businesses and operators to support you and further your business. To attend the in-person events please click here. To register for the online training option which will be available in early March, please use the contact form on our website, here.
The Accreditation Scheme was originally developed to recognise the dedication of skippers around the North Devon coast to conserve its unique biodiversity. Andrew Bengey supported the scheme from its inception, being instrumental in the success of the initial scheme and the first to sign up on the accreditation training day on the 9th March. It is with deep sadness that we hear of Andrews’ passing on Tuesday 21 February. Andrew had a deep understanding of his connection to the sea and its connection to him. He is deeply respected and inspired many to follow in his footsteps; his warm and generous nature will be remembered by all. The sessions on 9th March will therefore be dedicated to him and our heartfelt condolences go out to his loved ones.
The first 'UNESCO International Day for Biosphere Reserves' and North Devon UNESCO Biosphere's 20th Anniversary'
“With each passing year, the urgency of tackling environmental issues becomes clearer: we only have one planet, and it is in danger. Our relationship with nature and with other living beings needs a radical rethink in order to address these issues - we need to design and create a truly shared world.
Biosphere reserves have shown that it is possible to live in this world while also establishing a sustainable and harmonious relationship with nature.
The International Day for Biosphere Reserves is an invitation to take inspiration from the solutions already implemented in these spaces to build genuinely sustainable development everywhere, with full respect for nature and for the living world.”
International Day for Biosphere Reserves | UNESCO
To celebrate the first ‘UNESCO International Day for Biosphere Reserves’ and the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere’s 20th Anniversary, the UK and Ireland Biosphere’s are coming together to create short films or stories of the people who live and work within our Biospheres, finding out what being part of a UNESCO Biosphere means to them. These films/stories will be shared on our websites and social media. We would be grateful if you could take some time to help us with this, by creating your own story or one minute film as follows:
Say “hello”, state where you’re from and mention that you are located within the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, in the UK.
Answer some of the following questions which have been provided as a guide:
Please send your films via WeTransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words ‘International Day for Biosphere Reserves’ in the title.
Alternatively, send us an email story, to the above address, with your written answers (max 75 words per question) and attach a photograph of yourself, your favourite natural place in the biosphere, or one thing visitors should experience.
The deadline for submissions is Monday 31st October 2022
How did you hear about our project?
Back in 2019, we attended a Taw Valley Farmers Group (TVFG) workshop on carbon capture and the environment mostly because we were interested in tree planting on a small scale. While there, we got talking with a few like-minded members and at the beginning of summer 2019, Jane Hart, TVFG coordinator had got a small interest group together with an FWAG consultant.
This small group with expert support, expanded on the practical issues of planting trees and as a result, it gave us the encouragement to participate in this venture. With the support and guidance from Woods4Water and the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, our proposal to plant a thousand native trees and three leaky woody dams was accepted.
Tell us about how the tree planting project worked on your land.
The leaky woody dams were built and in-place by August 2020. Planting started in late November till mid-December 2020 and by our second year, we had more than 80% of our planting showing good growth. The design for planting hard wood trees, followed a circular and hexagonal pattern. This pattern needed to take account of overall land area and distance between each sapling. Whilst, free planting of Wild Cherry, Bird Cherry, Crab Apple provided a more natural overall feel to the planting design.
The woodland has a public footpath enjoyed by many of the local village residents, and in recognition of our regeneration planting the Parish Council with our consent has planted the Queen’s Jubilee tree there as well.
That sounds amazing, how did you first become interested in regenerating native woodland in our UNESCO Biosphere?
Historically, this area of land was actually woodland. In the 40’s and 50’s much of it was cleared for grazing. In early 2000, my late father began to explore the idea of regenerating the woodland and he started with planting a small area with a mixture of tree saplings. More recently, my husband and I, like many others, have seen how challenges in climate change and the environment have stood in the forefront of all our lives. For us, looking at the many environmental challenges provided a yearning for a legacy that contributes to the betterment of our environmental future, for our children and grandchildren.
Since getting involved with the project, has this changed how you think about your land management?
As farmers, we have always accepted the important link between trees and the environment. However, the Woods4Water project, involving leaky woody dams, planting trees and attending workshops, has meant we are now more informed and involved within the debate itself. Our leaky woody dams are doing their job, water from heavy rainfall has been held back and in some ways the dams are a part of flood risk management.
Do you have any advice for others looking to get involved in tree planting and other land management projects?
In the future, as the trees mature, we hope that the woodland provides a lasting riparian catchment to filter and maintain water quality. Planting the tree saplings was definitely a challenge but a challenge that we would do again and encourage others to do as well. At times, when unsure or in over our heads, we found support and help from the Woods4Water team has been exceptional.
However, given what we know now, perhaps we could have visited other landowners who have undertaken such a project to better inform and prepare ourselves for the task of planting. At the forefront of planting is always the question of right tree right place. Which trees for shaded or loamy soil? Planting aftercare and maintenance of woodland is an issue that we are currently grappling with as is what and when to use weed control and also caring for trees at different stages of growth.
For the coming years we can see continued interest in tree planting and environmental projects like installing leaky woody dams. As such, with the current age of social media, a Biosphere-led initiative for an interactive and current forum for likeminded interest in tree planting and maintenance would be greatly beneficial.
Thanks so much for chatting to us West Hill Farm – your project sounds like it is having a positive effect on your land and, as a result, our whole environment. Thank you.
Planting trees can bring a wealth of benefits to your land. It can present opportunities to diversify, generate additional income, increase productivity, and enhance your land – whilst also supporting wider environmental goals.
The Devon Woods Project team of advisors offer a range of support and advice services to landowners, tenants, and communities including site visits, advising on the most suitable location and design for new woodland creation, accessing grant schemes such as the England Woodland Creation Offer (EWCO) and MORE woods, securing the necessary permits and consents, and registering new woodland with carbon credit accreditation schemes.
If you are interested to find out more about the Devon Woods Project please contact email@example.com
North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Launches Sustainable Tourism App for Visitors to Northern Devon!
North Devon UNESCO Biosphere have launched a new web app aimed at visitors and residents, to highlight the fantastic experiences available in the area, while helping to reduce pressure on the popular hotspots.
The North Devon Explorer web app will provide real time information on traffic congestion and weather and aims to help people find the hidden gems in and around our biosphere, spreading the visitor load and economy.
The North Devon Explorer app will allow visitors to:
• Discover the range of activities our biosphere has to offer, including natural and cultural highlights; walking and cycle trails; gardens, nature reserves and wildlife; museums and stately homes.
• Find their nearest visitor information centre
• View current weather information at their chosen destination
• Check tide times at coastal points
• Locate EV charging points across the area
• Identify traffic congestion
• View a range of hospitality related businesses certified by the North Devon Biosphere Business Partner Eco-Accreditation Scheme.
The App also provides visitors with a guide through the towns across the area through reciprocal links to the dscvr app, launched by Torridge and North Devon Councils last year.
Andy Bell, Biosphere Service Coordinator, North Devon UNESCO Biosphere says:
“We have designed this app to help give visitors to northern Devon access to a range of experiences that will add to the quality of their stay in our area. With up-to-date weather and traffic information, they can avoid busy hot spots and get more enjoyment by connecting with our wonderful environment and culture”
The project was developed and part funded under the Interreg Channel programme through the BioCultural Heritage Tourism Project co-ordinated by North Devon UNESCO Biosphere. This project’s aims were to demonstrate how tourism growth can be compatible with regions of very high environmental quality.
“After months of work behind the scenes getting this app created, tested and refined, I’m delighted that we are now able to launch North Devon Explorer, just in time for the summer holidays! I urge all accommodation providers to mention the app to their guests in their pre arrival information or welcome packs, as an extra layer of service and to help us spread the visitor load this summer.”
Sarah Jordan, North Devon Explorer Project Lead
The project was also part funded by The Tarka Country Trust, in line with their objectives for the conservation of sites and education for all.
To view the North Devon Explorer web app, visit www.northdevonexplorer.com
Biosphere Foundation secures £528,000 partnership deal with Siemens to accelerate digital transformation of natural capital sector.
The Biosphere Foundation, the non profit operational arm of the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere, has partnered up with Siemens in a three year deal to launch and globally scale the critical market infrastructure for nature based solutions to address climate change.
The sponsorship deal, worth over £528,000, will see the biosphere benefit from technology licenses, Siemens development and management input, and global marketing support to assist in scaling and roll out.
This partnership has boosted two infrastructure platforms in the environment and climate markets: Natural Capital Marketplace and The Smart Biosphere.
Natural Capital Marketplace is a as an online trading platform to provide the market infrastructure to connect landowners, investors and ecosystem service customers (such as Carbon credits and Biodiversity Net Gain Credits). NCM has been developed over two years with the backing from both the HM Government and the Environment Agency.
The Smart Biosphere provides a scalable environmental intelligence platform to monitor, report and verify nature-based interventions. It brings together IoT sensors in the environment, big data, machine learning and earth observation.
Both solutions are built on Mendix™, Siemens' industry leading, all-in-one, low-code application development platform to create a customer portal that enables local farmers, landowners, and carbon/biodiversity credit customers to purchase offsets online.
Rob Passmore, Commercial Lead at the Biosphere Foundation, said: “Accelerating the rollout of nature-based interventions - such as tree planting and peatland restoration - are critical to addressing the 1.5°C climate challenge. To date, we believe the market has lacked the necessary infrastructure to redirect private investment at pace and scale into nature. The solutions we have created with Siemens directly address this challenge and represent a significant step forward for the sector.”
A Smart Biosphere pilot project has already been trialled on a 5km river catchment in North Devon after 18 months of development with funding support from Heart of the South West LEP, South West Water and HM Government. Cutting edge technology enables data collection and analysis on the river catchment to build real-time information to find the relationships between the agricultural food system's land-use, soil health, run-off, water quality, natural flood management and flood risks.
Alan Wardle from Siemens said “Siemens technology has significantly transformed the Biosphere Foundation by enabling us to accelerate time to market by 65% (Smart Biosphere) to 72% (NCM). Additionally, Biosphere Foundation had also benefitted from Siemens Industrial IOT Framework - MindSphere - which collects, secures and structured data from our physical environment and waters by using multiple sensors and various sources.”
“We have had a strong partnership with Siemens over the past 3 years." Added Rob Passmore “Our alliance will only grow stronger as our two infrastructure platforms have the potential to drive real innovation and change for the rural and coastal communities, economies and environments across our nation.”
What is next for the Biosphere Foundation? “In a word scaling! We are thrilled to have signed a strategic partnership with Siemens who supports our vision and ambition. Our focus now is on ramping up impacts by rolling out our nature-based solution infrastructure to new geographies.”
Rob Passmore is a panellist today at Transform2022 on July 13 sharing the Biosphere Foundation’s experience in digital transformation on the main stage in the What’s next in tech? session.
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The UNESCO biosphere global network connects communities around the world who are pioneering a positive future for people and nature. Together, the network covers over 5% of the Earth’s surface and is home to over 250m people.