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The Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership Scheme, grant aided by Heritage Lottery for the last 4 years to the tune of £1.7m, finally came to an end in November. More than 60 projects have been delivered to conserve the unique landscape, heritage and wildlife of the Avalon Marshes and to engage people in its conservation, understanding and enjoyment.
Conservation projects have included those to restore important wetland habitats, such as the mires at Westhay Moor and Shapwick Heath, and those to protect important archaeological sites, including Glastonbury Lake Village and the Sweet Track. Practical projects have included new hides and trails, including improved links to Shapwick Moor; a new car park and visitor facilities at Ham Wall; and two new historic reconstructions at the Avalon Marshes Centre.
Community engagement has been critical to the success of the overall scheme including: 500 volunteers, contributing more than 16,450 hours; 50 schools and colleges, providing nearly 5,000 educational experiences; 180 events, attracting more than 10,000 participants; and 49 courses, training 370 staff and volunteers. Work has also gone on to promote the wider area to visitors, 160,000 of whom already visit the main reserves, with a new website, leaflets and interpretation panels.
Although the scheme has now finished, and the Avalon Marshes Landscape Partnership team disbanded, the Avalon Marshes Partnership will continue. Many activities will carry on through joint working on conservation, education, volunteering and visitor management under the Avalon Marshes umbrella. Of the AMLP team, Kevin will be staying on until the spring to focus on visitor management and Mike to focus on the phase 1 works at the Avalon Marshes Centre.
Finally, a thank you to all who have been involved to make the scheme such a success, including Heritage Lottery and the other funders, the partner organisations, and the thousands of volunteers, school children, teachers, parents, local people and visitors who have participated.
Tor and reeds image – Guy Edwardes/2020VISION