National Lottery Funding for the North Pennines

A major project that will conserve, enhance and celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of a special part of the North West of England has received four years of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has been awarded over £2million of National Lottery funding to support the £3.4million Fellfoot Forward Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Eastern Fellside

Eastern Fellside

The scheme focuses on the fellside and valley landscapes between Hallbankgate and Melmerby. The area covered by the project includes a large section of the Cumbrian part of the North Pennines AONB, but also brings in the villages and settlements of the lowland area, to the east of the River Eden. It will bring together management and restoration of habitats such as woodland, peatland and grasslands, with community archaeology, conservation of historic buildings, community arts and education.

Scheme manager, Fiona Knox, said:
“We’ve worked with local communities and our partner organisations throughout the development of this project and we’re looking forward to continuing this when we start work on the ground. There will be a strong emphasis on community-led activity and public participation throughout Fellfoot Forward.

“By the time the scheme ends in 2024, we will have a more resilient landscape, where vibrant communities are better equipped to protect and celebrate their own particular Eden. We’d like to thank National Lottery players who have made this project possible.”

Local resident and Chair of the scheme’s advisory group, Tom Speight, who has been involved from the beginning said:
"This is a fantastic opportunity for people like me, who live in this very special and relatively underdeveloped corner of the AONB, to help my community dig deeper into our heritage and landscape. Hopefully it will empower us to research, share and learn together, and draw on the expertise from professionals to help us to do that - and the potential for real legacy is huge."

Fellfoot Forward will have a strong emphasis on habitat and species conservation, focusing on the plants and wildlife that help to make this area special.

Projects include:

  • Improving the water quality and associated habitats of becks. Using natural flood management techniques to reduce flood-risk downstream.

  • Targeted species recovery for curlew, black grouse, ring ouzel and hen harrier.

  • Enhancing and connecting existing wildlife habitats and creating new ones, including woodland, wetland and hedgerows.

  • Conserving and consolidating at-risk heritage sites including Long Meg and her Daughters stone circle and Kirkoswald Castle.

  • Opportunities for increasing conservation and heritage skills through traineeships, volunteering, and training for/with farmers and land managers.

  • Undergrounding 1.9km of overhead cables.

  • Improving energy conservation of selected heritage community buildings.

  • Uncovering new stories about the Fellfoot Forward area’s past, through community engagement with archaeology, historical research and oral history recording.

  • Citizen science activities to improve species awareness and recording of wildlife, plus small scale conservation projects.

  • Schools programmes to engage young people with the landscape, its conservation and its stories.

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“Urgent action is needed to help nature recover. National Lottery funding is creating incredible opportunities for people to take such action for species under threat and, crucially, equipping a new generation with the skills and passions to make a real difference for the future of our natural world.”

North Pennines

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