South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) has recently joined ‘Our Land’, a sustainable tourism initiative designed specifically for protected landscapes. Its aim is to develop and promote rural responsible tourism in UK Protected Landscapes to the benefit of local economies.
Our Land has been pioneered via a lottery funded programme by South East Protected Landscapes and is hosted by Surrey Hills AONB. It's vision is to help visitors make a conscious (or even, second nature) connection between their experience and landscape conservation, in order to help protect the much loved features for future generations. Our Land does this by discovering, developing and promoting the conservation stories of the people running tourism businesses in the landscapes.
Stories from other protected landscapes include: B&B owners that have meticulously and sensitively restored traditional buildings. Farmers that, as well as diversifying into tourism, are managing the land to encourage biodiversity. Locals who run courses on traditional skills from willow weaving to dry stone walling. Pubs that serve local produce and hire local musicians. Holiday cottage owners that practice ecologically sustainable ethos and techniques. Communities that have pooled together to save precious woodland. Each and every tourism business on Our Land is there because of its commitment to conserving and enhancing the landscape. 'The Promise to Our Land' is Our Land’s way of screening businesses that focuses on local issues and initiatives.
The response from the business to the 'Promise' is screened by the Protected Landscape unit that offers businesses a route to market as a thank you. The unit also helps businesses recognise and develop further ways of conserving and enhancing the landscape through a series of Our Land product development initiatives, some of which utilise previous work carried out by the Protected Landscape.A number of businesses may already have been approached by Responsibletravel.com, but any others are welcome to join.
Further information about the initiative is available at www.our-land.co.uk.