’Do I show you my village?’ is the experience of visiting a village that you thought could not teach you anything, and leaving after two hours of pleasant walk, having enjoyed everything discovered and wanting to repeat it. 

But they are also walks that value the 2000 years of history of Castile, taught by the residents themselves, with the grace of someone who discovers a hidden secret. 

It is a tool that allows intergenerational relationships, valuing the knowledge of our elders while contributing to the local economy. 

It is an original and unique solution in Europe, protocolized, scalable and replicable, an innovative project that tries to solve various problems in rural areas in an original way. 

‘Do I show you my village?’ a pilot project in the EU, which seeks the defence of rural heritage from a new perspective through training and empowered resident volunteering. Through our protocol, the heritage of the municipality is studied, translated into an interpretive walk that synergizes with local businesses and it is launched free visits that show and value rural heritage. 

Presentation of the project 

ADRI Ribera del Duero Burgalesa, who fights for rural development in the south of the province of Burgos (Castilla y León), is made up of municipalities, associations and companies that represent this territory. With 2000km2 and 18.000 population, ADRI RDB works here since 1996. 

Rural areas suffer strong loss or deterioration of an enormous material and immaterial heritage due to the lack of knowledge, valuation and maintenance of this, as well as the budget to achieve it. In the current context of the rural environment, these elements are not accessible to the general public, due to their signage, conservation, ownership and degradation of their entrances. The valorization of the inventoried assets of our heritage is promoted, encouraging their conservation according to their original function and avoiding their deterioration. 

In unknown village and without any visitors, when the heritage is in high risk of disappearance the objectives of our project are: 

  • ‘Being ‘Rural’ in the Ribera del Duero Burgalesa shire: Making the neighbours part and proud of the rural areas. 
  • Heritage: Keeping, defence and recovering the heritage. 
  • Joining intergenerational links. 
  • Citizen participation. 
  • Social connection: Create new meetings though relationships. 
  • Wealth generation: Attract visitors to wealth generation in the area. 

The actual outputs are: 

  • 35 villages involved. 
  • 52 active volunteer members. 
  • More than 9.150 visitants (from the beginning of the Volunteering Program in 2018). 
  • They spend an average amount of 12 € per person in the rural business. 
  • 410 Cultural Heritage elements recovered: Cultural, religious and military properties; Industrial elements; Traditional Architecture and elements; Natural heritages; Immaterial cultural and Wineries architectural heritage elements. 

This initiative looks for the integration among the different social actors in the territory. The citizens participate in the management and the heritage spreading unselfishly in the rural area. 

Around 27% of the EU population lives in rural areas sharing economic, social and environmental problems, resulting in unemployment, disengagement, depopulation, marginalisation or loss of cultural, biological and landscape diversity. This initiative is guided with a protocol and the model could be shared as a good practice and replicated. 

The role of LEADER in TEMP is important. It supports with basic costs as the website, that it is really important to put our shire in the world, or other technological elements to realise the formation of the volunteers each month (videoconference system). Moreover, it takes part in a radio programme in which, once a week, the coordinator of the project does a summary of the visits this weekend, new volunteers, present a picturesque heritage element, etc. The insurance for volunteers and visitors also is essential to organize the project what is funding by LEADER. 

The project is the experience of visiting a village by its neighbours, which is the emblematic element. In 2018 was an innovation in our shire, and five years later is a reality here where more volunteers and villages have unit to this rural project. 

In the recent strategy, the population has declared, related to TEMP, as debility: 

  • Seasonal tourism, and it does not get publish the cultural, heritage and ethnographic tourism in the commercial channels 
  • Little dialogue between municipalities, localism 
  • Weak conscientious in cooperation work 

The threats are: 

  • Few collaboration/coordination institutional culture that minimize the impact of develop actions 
  • Depopulation in smallest villages, deterioration and lost of its heritage 
  • Stigmatisation of the image of rural areas in general 
  • Few attraction to come by new workers 

The strengths are: 

  • Exceptional heritage resources (cultural, archaeological, ethnographic, nature,…) very diverse 
  • Quality and quantity touristic offer with enough accommodation 
  • Dynamism and strength of cultural associations 

And the opportunities are: 

  • Social and politic recognition of depopulation as a problem 
  • Valuation of quality of life in rural areas as a site where search new vital models 
  • New population 
  • Take root between teenagers and immigrants 
  • External promotion of the image of the shire and potential the connection of the shire 

ADRI RDB believes that this project could be possible and necessary in the rest of rural areas. It does not need more than people who love his villages with spirit and heart to protect and taught it to visitors. Voluntary service is an opportunity to do something to your territory. 

In a close future, ADRI RDB hopes to be the coordinator of a LEADER Cooperation project, first in Castilla y León and, after that, in the rest of the country or, why no, in Europe.