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Welcome to
West Somerset Council

Land Management and Skills Scheme

What is the Land Management & Skills Scheme?

West Somerset Council has teamed up with the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cannington College, Somerset Rural Youth Project (SRYP), and Somerset Hedge Group to provide a programme for those working in, or with an aspiration to work in, the field of land management.

Projects are aimed at various target groups including young people, young farmers and community groups as well as those already working in the field.

For those currently working in the landscape there are workshops which focus on gaining extra skills which could add an additional aspect to their business offer. For example someone working in tree surgery may be interested in extending their expertise by joining a workshop on tree management for veteran trees of particular species. Other workshops aimed at land and woodland managers are aimed at managing landscapes to build resilience to climate change and disease.

Other aspects of the project are aimed at younger people where the focus is on gaining extra confidence and team working capabilities in areas such as forestry, heathland, conservation skills and use of tools and machinery. There is also a focus on traditional methods used to manage the landscape including hedge-laying and coppicing.

There are workshops to develop particular skills under each project area and The Flexible Development Grant also provides direct funding to individuals by helping to ensure that those studying landscape based subjects are given assistance to attain certification or ‘tickets’ to enable them to operate without supervision. This increases chances of gaining employment upon leaving college. 

The project is being funded through Hinkley Point C planning agreement funds (Section 106 money) to help people learn essential countryside skills. Further Detail is explained below.

The schemes are generally aimed at those living or working in the area of impact of Hinkley Point C. Residents and those working in West Somerset and Sedgemoor Districts are particularly encouraged to get involved. Further details of each project can be found below and by following the relevant contacts and links for each project area:

Project Activity and How to Get Involved

Activity is taking place throughout 2016. Please make contact with the relevant delivery partner for each project for exact dates and eligibility criteria.

Project Name Type of Activity & Training How to get involved/Further information
Conservation Grazing Skills Courses consisting of a series of workshops aimed at public bodies and private landowners.  Workshops will develop skills in species selection and grazing levels. Cannington Centre, Bridgwater College

Nigel Cox or Tom Cunningham
01278 455464
Landscape Tree Management Specialised training to preserve & enhance our veteran trees. Training aimed at farmers and land managers, tree surgeons and contractors in the skills to plan works which will produce veteran trees in the future. Cannington Centre, Bridgwater College

Nigel Cox or Tom Cunningham
01278 455464
Building Resilience in the Environment Support to build resilience into land management in terms of pests & diseases and climate change. Workshops and seminars to disseminate research, highlight future risks and help plan for future business resilience. Aimed at farmers, foresters and land managers. Quantock Hills AONB

Iain Porter
01823 451884
Historic Hedges Hedge-laying & maintenance skills. Training sessions followed by a Hedge-laying competition in Autumn 2016. Aimed at young farmers, young people and conservation volunteers. Somerset Hedge Group

Heather Harley
01398 322277
Orchards – Environmental Management & Commercial Development Orchard maintenance, establishing & management of trees, management for wildlife and consideration of commercialisation in apple growing, juicing and cider making. Suitable for community groups, young people , farmers and landowners. Quantock Hills AONB

Iain Porter
01823 451884
Species identification & Monitoring Community monitoring of farmland birds, wetland birds, bats and other species. Suitable for conservation volunteers and anyone interested in getting involved with monitoring and potentially establishing community monitoring groups. Quantock Hills AONB

Iain Porter
01823 451884
Land Management Skills & Confidence Building Project aimed at young people (aged 16 to 24) who are seeking to gain confidence in working in the landscape or working with others. Somerset Rural Youth Project

Barney Simmons 
07773 343 335
Flexible Development Grant for Land Management Skills Support for individuals to attain accredited qualifications to improve employability e.g. to enable operation of land management equipment without supervision. Cannington Centre, Bridgwater College

Nigel Cox or Tom Cunningham
01278 455464

Background to Scheme and its Funding

EDF Energy was granted planning permission by West Somerset Council to make a start on preparing the site at Hinkley Point C for a new power station.  The £127,000 allocated to the Land Management & Skills Scheme (LMSS) form part of the mitigation activity for the Landscape and Visual Amenity elements of the HPC Site Preparation S106 Agreement (Schedule 10) please see Schedule 10 Landscape & Visual (74 kb pdf).

The HPC Section 106 Agreement states that this allocation is for the purposes of implementing a scheme for young people to learn the necessary skills to manage the Quantock and Vale landscapes Map - Quantocks & Vale (494kb pdf) including skills for agriculture, forestry, heath land and conservation and a traditional skills scheme involving funding for anyone to learn traditional skills to manage the landscape including hedge laying, coppicing, pollarding, ditching, pond building and restoration, fencing, species identification and using associated tools and machinery.

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Service in developing a fit for purpose range of activities that will ensure a maximum geographical spread of activity and achieve good value for money and robust outcomes. In addition to this a wider stakeholder seminar was held on 9 October 2014 with landscape agencies, education providers and youth and community groups.

A scheme of projects was presented to Full Council on 18 March 2015 and approved. Minutes & Report for meeting on 18 March 2015.

For further information about the overall scheme contact.

Gordon Dwyer
Economic Development Team
West Somerset Council
Killick Way, Williton TA4 4QA
01984 635219