Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The only thatched museum on Devon’s World Heritage Coast

Guy Kerr, left, with OVA Chairman Roger Saunders at Fairlynch Museum 

You may have noticed that Fairlynch Museum changed its logo some time ago. We thought a dash of colour was needed, and that  Mediterranean shade of blue seemed just right.  Those Budleigh pebbles form an important part of our geological display. And of course we are the only thatched museum on Devon’s World Heritage Coast…

Hence the recent visit to Budleigh by Guy Kerr, who was appointed as Jurassic Coast Trust Community Coordinator last year. Roger Saunders, Chairman of the Otter Valley Association, and I met up with him at Fairlynch to find out more about his role. 

Q: You work for the Jurassic Coast Trust? Can you tell us something about it?
GK: We’re an independent registered charity which supports the delivery of science, conservation, arts, education and sustainable development programmes along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
Q: And your job?
GK: My job is to bring local communities and residents together to engage with different aspects of the World Heritage Site. The aim is to make people care for and understand the Jurassic Coast, in a way that it can deliver benefits back to these communities.
Pic: Budleigh eroded cliffs
Q: Is it just the coastline that you’re concerned with?
GK: Technically, the cliffs and beaches are the main focus of the World Heritage Site as defined by UNESCO, but in practice we’re also concerned with material inland.
Q: Can you give some examples of how you set about your work?
GK: A good example is the training courses that the Jurassic Coast Trust has run at museums. We started with the museum staff and then opened up the courses to the public.  Another case was the Lulworth Estate in Dorset where we were asked to focus on Archaeology. We brought a range of organisations together including outdoor education centres and the South West Coast Path Association.
Q: What about holiday camps and caravan parks?
GK: Absolutely. We’ve worked with Highlands End at Bridport – part of West Dorset Leisure Holidays.  Nearer this area we worked with Oakdown Park near Sidmouth to develop their guided walks programme.


Two views of Budleigh Salterton from the sea, including our ancient Triassic red sandstone cliffs

Q: Do you have a message for local residents here?
GK: We’d love to see people from, say, Budleigh or the villages, putting themselves forward as Jurassic Coast Ambassadors. They might have a special project to do with the coast which we might be able to help with. For example, one of our Ambassadors is a Dorset journalist and photographer Steve Belasco, who has set himself the task of documenting the Jurassic Coast viewed from the sea. He gave a presentation of amazing photos with the talk fee donated to the Jurassic Coast Trust.   
Q: How can people find out more?
GK: We have a great website at www.jurassiccoast.org

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