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Access To Nature Project

Nature Walks in Hyndburn project began in January 2010 with the aim to help disadvantaged people engage positively with nature through participation in Nature Walks, especially expert-led walks and high profile annual “Nature Walks Festival,” with progression to active conservation volunteering, training and community management. Hard-to-reach groups included ethnic minorities, young people, mental health beneficiaries and the general community of Hyndburn living in low-income neighbourhoods. The project evolved by asking volunteers from target beneficiary groups what they wanted to do, by taking account of existing strategic plans for natural sites, and by focusing on health needs and environmental deprivation. 

People from under-represented groups and/or living in highly deprived areas within Hyndburn were able to participate in expert-led ‘Nature Walks’, including an annual Nature Walks festival.  These walks introduced people to footpaths starting near their home and taking them through green corridors to visit biological heritage sites, our single Local Nature Reserve, and other areas of natural interest. Disadvantaged groups were involved from the start in designing these walks to meet their needs and interests. 

Walk participants were encouraged to move on to:

  • Volunteer Conservation Work to improve footpaths, access links, greenways, woodlands, ponds and other sites of natural interest which are used for Nature Walks;
  • Training (e.g. woodland management, species recognition, first aid) to increase skills, confidence, understanding of nature and ability to manage sites, carry out wildlife surveys, and act as walk leaders;
  • Developing community management of key LNRs and Biological Heritage Sites included in Nature Walks, e.g. wildlife and habitat surveys, regular conservation work, management plans;
  • Promotional activities, such as wildlife photography

An excellent partnership steering group ran for the duration of the project involving the Prospects Foundation, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Hyndburn Borough Council, Lancashire Country Council, Health Improvement Team, Hyndburn Community Network, eight geographical Prospects Panels, and at least 20 community groups who worked with our target beneficiaries. It would not have happened without the support of Access to Nature.

The project was all about learning and experiencing nature, whether it was coming along to a bat walk, planting a tree, developing a walk leaflet or taking ownership of a natural area. 
 
Over 4 years nearly 2000 adults and children have been involved with a variety of project, walks, environmental activities, schools visits and training courses. 35 community groups including several PROSPECTS Panels have benefited from involvement during the nature walks project. This involvement has ranged from helping to organise and lead a walk, development of a nature conservation project or other volunteering opportunities. Just under 400 volunteering an awareness raising events were organised including 84 walks and training courses.
 
17 sites have been improved for both widlife and local people, of which are regularly managed by volunteers. 
 
Follow the links below to find out more about project work
Habitat Management
Interpretation and Access Improvements
Monday Conservation Group
Nature Walks and Talks
Training Events
Forest School Activity
Woodnook Vale Willow Trail
 

The Nature Walks in Hyndburn programme was funded by the Big Lottery, and administered on their behalf, by Natural England.  We would like to thank the Big Lottery and Natural England for their support in delivering this programme.