Another great initiative from Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB Team
Landscapes for All in Suffolk and Essex
As part of the Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’s efforts to improve access to the natural environment, local organisations have been working in partnership to launch several initiatives to ensure the landscape is for everyone.
The Landscapes for All work aims to utilise existing accessible public transport links to introduce underrepresented communities to the countryside, including Ukrainian families, underprivileged women and children, and refugee groups from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan.
Led by local experts, groups have walked from train stations on the edges of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to some of the area’s most beloved locations, such as Wrabness, Flatford, and Woodbridge riverside.
Across the different walks that have taken place so far this year, more than 110 people have taken part, during which they have learnt about local wildlife, the landscape, and artists who have been inspired by it.
Organisations involved in the initiatives include Community Rail Partnership in Essex and South Suffolk and East Suffolk, Refugee, Asylum Seeker & Migrant Action (RAMA), Ipswich-based P.H.O.E.B.E., an Ipswich-based registered charity supports black and ethnic minority women and children, as well as the Suffolk Refugee Support group, and The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
Introducing different groups of people to the countryside can help to develop knowledge of the local area, public transport links, as well as building confidence and providing the skills to explore the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty independently. Funding for the initiatives has been provided by Essex County Council’s path to prosperity and Suffolk County Council’s Green access team.
Aaron Taffera, Chairman of East Suffolk Lines Community Rail Partnership said:
“These initiatives are making a true contribution to society by helping more people discover the benefits of our green spaces. They are also helping to safeguard our railways by introducing people to the local public transport links and giving them the skills to confidently explore the area by rail.”
One participant from the Suffolk Refugee Support walk from Woodbridge to Melton said:
“Today is good for me and it was an experience with new places to see. I was very happy mentally, walking together, walking along the river, thank you.”
Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership Chairman, Nick Collinson, said:
“These fantastic Landscapes for All Initiatives are empowering different groups of people to discover the natural environment and the associated benefits of being outdoors in our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Cllr James Finch, the acting Chairman of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty said:
“Partnership working is what Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty do best, and it is brilliant to see different local organisations coming together to facilitate these initiatives, which will make our special landscapes even more accessible and welcoming for all parts of society.”
Jenny Moss, Landscapes for All Officer said:
“We firmly believe that our landscapes should be accessible to everyone. There are so many fantastic organisations working to support refugees and other vulnerable people in Suffolk and Essex, and we will continue to build partnerships that enable more people to experience the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Feedback from the groups has been very positive and more initiatives are planned for 2023 and beyond. For more information, please contact Landscapes for All Officer, Jenny Moss at email@example.com.