Chance to learn more about the North Devon coastline

A local voluntary group is going from strength to strength in its bid to champion the North Devon coastline and its marine life. Coastwise North Devon is looking forward to its autumn programme and the return of the popular Our Coast course, which offers

A local voluntary group is going from strength to strength in its bid to champion the North Devon coastline and its marine life.

Coastwise North Devon is looking forward to its autumn programme and the return of the popular Our Coast course, which offers attendees the chance to learn more about the coast on their doorstep.

The course features a series of talks, on topics ranging from marine wildlife, fishing and the Marine Bill to local maritime history and coastal renewable energy.

In addition there will be a series of field trips to local beaches to meet some of their finny and spiny residents and learn more about them and their environment.


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The first session is at the Burton Gallery in Bideford on October 1 and then thereafter it will be held at Barnstaple Library every Thursday from 9.45am.

The joys of exploring some of the region's more undiscovered marine corners is to be made available to both locals and visitors alike next year, after Coastwise received a �1,630 grant from the North Devon AONB to lead public beach visits.

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They will be called Shore Safaris and once Coastwise members have received training from experts at Plymouth Marine Laboratories and Hallsannery Field Centre in Bideford, four safaris are expected to run next summer.

"The idea is to tell people all about the lives of the animals on our beaches and coasts," explained Paula Ferris, chairman of Coastwise.

"What they eat, where they live, how they breed and prosper - and what we can do to look after them, because they are a vital part of the food chain.

"Following the loss of the Devon Wildlife Trust Marine Awareness post, and the rock pool rambles they ran, it is hoped these Shore Safaris will provide fun and education for visitors and locals alike."

In the first year since it was formally set up Coastwise has won two awards from the North Devon Conservation Society - the President's Shield and the North Devon AONB Coastal Award for the work it does.

"We are really encouraged by this recognition of what we're trying to do," added Paula.

"The next 12 months are important, with the Marine Bill in the offing and it is also the 50th Birthday of North Devon's AONB, and Coastwise aims to celebrate in style, with a new autumn Our Coast course.

"The course is at the heart of what we do and is the launch-pad for our learning. I would encourage anyone who cares about the coast and marine wildlife to consider joining us."

Anyone who wants to join the course or find out more about Coastwise can contact secretary Marjorie Heath on (01271) 831190, email mheath2025@aol.com or visit www.coastwisenorthdevon.org.uk.

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