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My work experience at the North Devon Biosphere Reserve

Tarka Trail-North Devon Biosphere (6)

Here is what I was doing in North Devon: tourism consultant. 

– Create a database with all the sustainable tourism offers.

– Make a change to the North Devon Biosphere Reserve website. The website should be divided into sectors:

  • One part is more professional with project details.
  • The second section should be more touristic, with information about ecotourism and links to other tourist websites. One chapter should be dedicated to the local community. A page for news and events should be included, but a blog that is possible for all social networks should also be included.

– Increase social network use, be more active and involve more people.

Consider adding more eco-activities to and other websites in the area.

The Green Traveller website already had articles about the Tarka Trail and Lundy Island, but no holiday offer existed. 

– Involved sustainable businesses with a questionnaire about their opinion of sustainability and biosphere reserve.

Things to do, organise, or support the Biosphere team. How can the Biosphere team promote the Biosphere and involve the local community (for example, volunteers), businesses, and tourists?

To include local producers, I suggested why don’t we organise “degustazioni” or, in English, “thematic Food taste”? We can propose different kinds of cheese, mushrooms, meat, jam, or beers.
Furthermore, organising some courses in traditional Devon cuisine or dessert specialities could be excellent. Something can be learned in a few days, allowing tourists to attend it.

I recommended commemorating local history, involving local artists, and asking grandparents to help us create memories for this special occasion.

I also suggested partnering with an artist studio, network, or association and organising an exhibition or participating in one already done representing artists of the North Devon biosphere.

Tourism development (longer projects to develop)

My first suggestion was to work to develop the North Devon area as a movie or book location. The starting phase was getting to know and collaborating with the film commission.

The second topic was the ecomuseum: the biosphere reserve could promote it and be a significant part of it, such as the coordinator.

The third idea was about the Albergo Diffuso model. The Biosphere Reserve could promote it, be part of the partnership developing the tourism program, or be the coordinator and help the owners build renovations. For example, the biosphere team should suggest what kind of renewable energy is better and which traditional materials are recommended.

– Increasing the number of signs made with natural and local content may be okay.

What was I doing? I created the database and started to tie up the website content; I needed a little space to insert ecotourism offers, and I made some contact with the local community from social networks.

 I designed holiday offers and ideas to be shared with local operators (suitable for the Green Traveller’s website) and started the proposal for the ecomuseum project.

I contacted local producers and artists to determine whether the Biosphere team could participate more in food festival commemorations.

I verified whether Devon cuisine courses were available even for tourists and how involved the Biosphere is with exhibitions and local artists.

We sent questionnaires to businesses to understand how they feel about the Biosphere. Do they know they live in a Biosphere Area? What do they think about that?

More? I proposed a new tourism approach: the location of books and movies in North Devon and new accommodation models such as the Albergo Diffuso.

Due to the limited time I had in North Devon, I could only start studying about Ecomuseum and Albergo Diffuso. This study was used as a base for grant requests to realise the project.




Brunton Burrows-north devon biophere reserve

North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve Visitor Survey

I started delivering the visitor questionnaire a few weeks later the beginning of the job. There was an online version and a paper version. I aimed to reach visitors in the area while I was there and before. I asked for the collaboration of tourism businesses to do so. 

Please click on the link to download the questionnaire 

I thought to do also the business questionnaire, but I discovered with pleasure that somebody else is creating it. I am in touch with this organization, and they will use some of my questions in their business questionnaire. 

Click the link below to download the questionnaire for businesses

Okehmpton show- north devon biosphere reserve 2012 (7)

Web site changes

In September 2012, I started the changes to North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve website. I am very happy to see that there is now a new version that better represents the amazing job the biosphere team is doing in the North Devon area. 

Barnstaple-North Devon Biosphere Reserve (2)


Here, you can find my presentation about the Eco-museum concept and the study done about it.

The first part answers the question: What is an Ecomuseum? I researched well-performing ecomuseums in the UK and have written about their most interesting features.

Second: How can an eco-museum be useful for North Devon’s Biosèhere Reserve?

Third, I suggest how to develop the eco-museum in the North Devon Biosphere Reserve and what the NDBR should focus on.

North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve Eco-museum concept ppt.

Sara – tourism sector consultant

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