200 hear of hope for the planet

5 October 2017, Comments Comments Off on 200 hear of hope for the planet

Nearly 200 adults and children packed out Devon’s premier religious retreat centre Lee Abbey recently to hear from our team about A Rocha UK’s vital work.


Our chief Andy Atkins launched the week with a whistle-stop tour of the crisis facing the planet. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Andy introduced the theme of hope and the opportunity to roll out practical solutions much faster – which flowed through the rest of the programme.

People said ‘farewell’ to Hannah Hereward, our marine researcher who’s completing an MA in marine conservation. She’s been working in partnership with A Rocha UK, A Rocha International, Lee Abbey and Plymouth University – and spoke during the week to local dignitaries and charity leaders of her findings.

We’ve followed Hannah’s research, which has looked at the impact of blue-rayed limpets on kelp. This large seaweed is an essential component in the ocean’s eco-system. Hannah has also produced a ‘Top Ten Scavenger Hunt’ for families who want to explore Lee Abbey’s wildlife-rich coastline.

Guests were treated to additional workshops from our leadership team. Conservation Director Andy Lester (pictured) ran a boat safari, kick boxing classes and a drumming workshop – and Andy Atkins taught painting skills. Many guests commented on how the Lee Abbey/A Rocha UK week inspired them to act. Several are already on their way to signing up for Eco Church.


Lee Abbey has been a key partner of ours now for a number of years and takes its commitment to nature conservation very seriously. For the last few years it’s been running its own mini hydro-electricity scheme, using water from a local river. It powers at least 30 per cent of the electricity needed for the house.

The centre is also taking part in A Rocha UK’s ambitious plans to conserve declining wildlife. Lee Abbey is busy creating new habitat and a monitoring scheme for its resident adder and slowworm populations.