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HRH The Prince of Wales visits project Bio-Cultural Heritage Tourism


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This summer 2021, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales visited Bio-Cultural Heritage Tourism (BCHT) at one of its Biosphere Reserves in North Devon.

BCHT is an Interreg France (Channel) England project set up to increase the value of tourism whilst protecting and preserving the environment and wildlife, and boosting the sustainable economy in each region.

During the visit on 21 July at Tennacott Farm, The Prince attended the Biosphere Natural Capital Seminar and met with members of the BCHT team and its partners.

The BCHT team gave a presentation on the North Devon Biosphere reserve and explained what BCHT is aiming to achieve. There was also a discussion about tourism and managing the effect on wildlife.

Adeline Gladieux, BioCultural Heritage Tourism project manager, said: “We were delighted and incredibly proud to have welcomed His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, to North Devon, where he met the team and was able to learn more about the Biosphere Reserve. Our project Bio-Cultural Heritage Tourism is dedicated to bringing about positive change in how tourism is managed and promoted, with a focus on ensuring that its sustainable, benefits local communities and preserves and protects the environment and our wildlife.”

The BCHT project is a cross-border project involving four Unesco Biosphere Reserves in France and the UK including the Marais Audomarois, the Iles et Mer d'Iroise, the Brighton and Lewes Downs and North Devon. The project, which is led by Devon County Council, brings together eight organisations on both sides of the Channel, including a university, local authorities, tourism agency and natural regional parks.

The project, which runs from January 2018 until December 2021, has worked closely with Biosphere Reserve managers to measure visitor flows and redirect tourists to less sensitive areas. It has also engaged with around 50 local businesses, some of which they are helping to create new products and activities, which are considerate of the environment and reflect local heritage.

Among the activities and prototypes developed by these businesses, there is a Physic Garden at Stanmer Organics with tea making and other workshops at Stanmer Park, a Nature Backpack developed by North Devon Biosphere, an escape game by the Audomarois Biosphere Reserve, Archaeology Gallery at Brighton Museum and exhibition at the Maison de l’environnement in Brittany.

In addition, one of the businesses, in partnership with the BCHT project, has been involved in organising the Homeward Bound Festival of music, culture and maritime heritage which takes place in Brighton on 2 and 3 October.

The final BCHT project conference will take place on 13 and 14 October (online). Further details will be published on the project website shortly.

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(Photo credits: Carl Klinkenborg)