KEEN volunteers who would like to help inspire visitors and locals to explore the geology of the North Pennines landscape are being offered free, expert training.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is also a UNESCO Global Geopark, recognising its unique geology and landscapes, and the impact they have on the life and history of the area. The AONB and Geopark team are now looking for people to become volunteer geo guides who will help to run events, walks or workshops about the area’s geology.

Volunteers will take part in a weekend of training, on March 16 and 17, at Bowlees Visitor Centre in Upper Teesdale.

The sessions will cover an introduction to geology from Dr Stuart Jones, associate professor at Durham University, and training on public speaking and presentation skills from members of the AONB and Geopark team.

Naomi Foster, geology projects officer at the North Pennines AONB Partnership, said: “This is a chance to explore a unique landscape more deeply and inspire others to get to know its fascinating features.

“We know that visitors and local people are really keen to know more about the geology that shaped this whole area and we’re hoping to inspire our volunteers to go out and share their knowledge with the public.”

All geo guides will need to attend the introductory sessions and at least two subsequent sessions. Trainees would then need to take part in at least five events, walks or workshops, representing the AONB and Geopark, in 2019 and 2020. These may be events for adults, families or local schools, with options in term time, school holidays, weekdays or weekends. Guides will receive a set of publications and information about the area, and transport costs will be paid.

The training programme is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the INTERREG Atlantic Area programme of the European Regional Development Fund.

If you are interested, contact Naomi Foster at naomi@northpenninesaonb.org.uk, or call 01388-528801.