IN the region of a dozen young building professionals could soon be travelling out to Transylvania. They will learn conservation skills that may in turn help repair Ludlow's medieval town walls.

South Shropshire District Council has won a European Union grant worth around £25,700 from the Leonardo Fund. Council conservation officer Colin Richards hopes to take out a group to the remote World Heritage Site village of Viscri in Transylvania from September 28 to October 12. There will be a further training project next Spring. The venture is part of a wider scheme to win Lottery funding for work on Ludlow's town walls.

Thanks to the efforts of Mr Richards, Ludlow and Viscri already have strong links. Mr Richards has been out to Viscri in southern Romania several times. One of his hosts, Carolina Fernolend and her husband Walter, visited Ludlow last year to bring local produce and talk about conservation.

The work this autumn will include conservation of the ancient walls of Viscri's fortified church and the repair of a 15th century timber barn in the village.

"Today many of the towns and villages retain a character that presents a window to a lost civilization with a few gallant survivors clinging onto its culture and architectural traditions," said Mr Richards.

"At meal times a walk down the main village street in Viscri is a sensory experience with the baking of bread, the making of cheeses and butter and, depending on the time of year, the distillation of plum brandy.

"Despite abandonment and the ravages of 16 baking hot summers and 16 bitterly hard winters, great efforts are being made to repair and retain ancient fabric, to retain and develop traditional crafts and to stimulate village economies through cultural and eco tourism."

Mr Richards is co-ordinating the project in partnership with Walford College. Young building professionals interested in taking part should contact Colin or Carmen Parker on 01584 813355 or to arrange an interview.