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 Heritage Skills

The AONB Partnership's Heritage Landscape Skills is a four-year project funded by Heritage Lottery's 'Skills for the Future' programme that brings £165,000 into the AONB. 

The programme will enable nine people to learn the skill of dry stone walling
and three graduates to study conservation and land management methods to increase biodiversity and improve habitat integrity. 

Dry stone walling training

Trainees will learn the skill of dry stone walling by receiving specific training at Low Kays Lea Farm training and test centre for approximately one month and then by working alongside professional wallers in the North Pennines. The Level 1 Test is a timed test which takes place one month after starting, the Level 2 Test is scheduled after six months of training (mid September). Test schedules are published by the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain. For more information on the Craftsman Scheme 2012, click on the pdf at the bottom of the page.

We also offer trainees information and workshops in how to set up in business to enable trainees to get started as self-employed wallers as soon as the their training is complete.  

Dry stone walling helps maintain an important part of upland farms in the North Pennines landscape. Good quality walls should stand for at least 100 years. 

There are many ways to get a training in dry stone walling; for more information click on our training and jobs guidance pdf (below) or email Lesley Silvera.

Conservation and land management training

In 2012-13 we expect our conservation and land management trainees to work on Hay Time monitoring, the Peatland Programme, riverbank erosion and restoration, WildWatch events and access mapping. The scheme will also pay (through the Heritage Lottery Fund) for a number of training courses in bryophyte ID, invertebrate ID and first aid. The work will be part office and part site based.

This training will hopefully propel trainees into long-term contracts in protected landscapes or habitat improvement work. 

A defining factor for selected trainees coming onto the Skills for the Future training was working in conservation as a volunteer. In 2012, the North Pennines AONB Partnership's Wildwatch programme of wildlife recording and training is a good way to increase knowledge for others who are keen to be involved in conservation in the North Pennines. There are many other opportunities for volunteering in conservation through local wildlife trusts, The National Trust, National Park volunteer schemes and local nature reserves.

You can get more information on careers in conservation by clicking on the pdf below. Click on the link to Our Work to find out more about the AONB Partnership's conservation work.

Two dry stone wallers
Trainees with trainer Peter Dent at Low Kays Lea Farm, near Hamsterley
Dry stone walling taster day