The Jersey National Park has launched a new initiative to promote understanding of the special qualities of the Park and in particular to recognise those who make an essential contribution to its identity.
In the inaugural year of Custodians of the Park, the theme is ‘Rural’. The coastal landscapes that make up the Park are a key feature of Jersey. They are of significant value to Islanders’ sense of identity and wellbeing.
It is often overlooked that the fields, bracken covered slopes and open wild areas of the Park are all individually owned and managed by others. Without the generosity of some of these landowners, who allow the public to access their land, we would be limited in where we can go and the places we enjoy.
The Jersey National Park is working alongside a wide range of rural partners – the custodians – to enhance public understanding and awareness of the dynamics of the rural environment. Locals and tourists are being invited to discover more through a series of expert-guided educational events taking place during half term, from Saturday 22nd to Saturday 28th October.
The events are led by rural custodians, experts from the sector, and are designed to be informative and thought provoking. There are 11 to choose from, including; ‘Linking our environment and farming’, ‘Why the provenance of your food matters’, ‘Rewilding, or habitat management?’ and ‘Our foods’ ecological footprint’, amongst many others. A Société Jersiaise exhibition will also be available to those attending the events at the Frances Le Sueur Centre. The exhibition looks at rural adaptions over time, with a collection of images depicting scenes of rural life.
Peter Le Maistre, President of the Jersey Farmers’ Union, said: “The rural sector occupies over half of the land surface area of Jersey and has a fundamental influence on the Island’s natural capital, landscape, wildlife, environment, and water resources of the Island. This land, which also includes the coastal landscapes of the Jersey National Park, is owned, managed and maintained by a range of parties, including members of the agricultural community, private landowners, the Government and charitable bodies.”
He continued: “We all care for the land, and play an essential role in maintaining and improving the Island’s unique characteristics. We are delighted that industry figures are taking part in this initiative which provides a great way for the public to understand the practices that take place to ensure the land is maintained with the utmost care.”
Jim Hopley, MBE, Chairman of Jersey National Park, said: “We are very grateful to work in partnership with our rural custodians to get insight into how they manage the precious landscapes we all enjoy.”
He added: “We all need to ask the question, ‘why is our rural environment important to us?’. By launching this new initiative, we aim to shine a light on the importance of the custodians and understand more about the valuable contribution they bring. This will ultimately help the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park, and safeguard these precious landscapes for future years to come.”
To discover more, including details on the events, go to the Jersey National Park website.