This week sees the launch of an exciting new mobile app called Somerset Trails. The app, which is FREE to download, has been cleverly designed to explore the impacts of climate change and bring to life the different ways nature can help Somerset adapt to climate change.
Designed by partnership project Co-Adapt, Somerset Trails is funded by Somerset Rivers Authority and the EU’s Intereg 2Seas Programme. The app combines walking maps with, video-guided tours, including a section specially designed for kids. Whilst on the trail, video content, that was filmed on location, is triggered at key points, featuring tour guides such as Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Shelly Easton and the fantastic 8- year-old Iona, as well as local experts. The trails talk about landscape features, climate change and how nature-based solutions can be used to help us adapt.
The first trail to be launched begins in the centre of Wedmore, taking in breathtaking views across the Somerset Levels, and meanders through meadows, past dew ponds and over historic ridge and furrow field systems. Later in the summer, a second trail will be launched by the National Trust, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of one of their most intriguing projects – beaver reintroduction and stage zero river restoration on Exmoor.
For younger walkers on the Wedmore trail, eight-year-old tour guide Iona leads the way in a section called Kids Corner and says, “I think people are going to have a lot of fun coming on the walk, and they’re going to learn lots about climate change and what people are doing about it in Somerset.”
Jolyon Chesworth, Head of Engagement at Somerset Wildlife Trust, comments:
“Climate change is a scary issue and sometimes so overwhelming that as individuals we can feel helpless. By following the trails on the app we can help people explore some of Somerset’s most beautiful areas and learn about how nature can help us adapt to what is coming if we look after it. As a dad I sometimes find it hard to talk to my children about climate change. It will affect their lives and they need to learn about it so they can be part of the solution, but equally we don’t want to scare them. Having Iona as a tour guide is brilliant in terms of inspiring the next generation in their own language to take action and find innovative solutions to tomorrow’s challenges.
“Hearing from those who are already taking action is really inspiring and gives us hope and optimism, as well as practical tips on what we can all do to contribute to a brighter future.”
Throughout the walks, people will be invited to add their thoughts and ideas, which will help the project teams develop climate adaptation plans with the community voice at their heart.
Somerset County Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure and Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority, adds:
“This brilliant Somerset project is once again leading the way in generating awareness and ideas about how we can adapt to the effects of climate change. Recent flooding events in the county have served as a reminder that we need to be more prepared for changing weather patterns and this app shows everyone how important their actions can be to finding the solutions.”
Co-Adapt is an Interreg 2Seas funded programme, involving 12 partners spanning four countries; UK, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. The Porlock Vale Streams Project, led by the National Trust, and Adapting the Levels, a partnership between Somerset County Council, Somerset Wildlife Trust and the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group SouthWest, are both projects working under the Co-Adapt umbrella and are also funded by Somerset Rivers Authority.