Landmarks in line for lottery win

THE beauty is in their diversity, summing up just what makes Yorkshire’s most prized landscapes so special.

Visitors to a blustery North York Moors enjoy the spectacular views from the Ironstone kilns left over from the mining industry which once dominated Rosedale. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

But a common thread now runs through moors which were once home to ironstone mines, iconic limestone crags in the Yorkshire Dales and rare wetlands that were farmed back in the medieval period.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has today announced £7m has been earmarked for three conservation projects in the region which are being heralded as vital to preserving the internationally recognised habitats for future generations.

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The multi-million pound investment, which will be made available if a final development bid submitted for each project is successful, is aimed at ensuring a major boost for rural communities by providing long-term social, economic and environmental benefits across landscapes spanning 216 sq miles – the equivalent of 78,000 football pitches.

The head of the HLF for Yorkshire and the Humber, Fiona Spiers, said: “These schemes all demonstrate a need for urgent conservation work to the natural and built heritage as well as reconnecting rural communities to these places.

“They are important on many levels, including being an integral part of our health and well-being and a significant contributor to the tourist economy. Yorkshire’s amazing countryside is under ever-increasing pressure and we must act now to make sure it continues to be one of our greatest assets.”

The biggest windfall regionally has been awarded to a project in the North York Moors National Park to conserve its industrial heritage following a railway revolution that coincided with a boom in mining for iron ore.

The scheme, dubbed “This Exploited Land”, is set to receive £3m to preserve former mines which provide an insight into the ironstone industry in the 19th century. The initiative will also outline the growth of the railways which coincided with the arrival of the ironstone mining in the 1830s centred on Grosmont and Rosedale.

At the height of its production between 1873 and 1914, about 19 per cent of the world’s demand for iron came from the Cleveland Hills and the North York Moors.

The ironworks at Grosmont retain rare surviving elements of innovative blast-furnace technology forged on Teesside.

The furnaces contributed to pioneering bridge design across the world and eventually led to the creation of Sydney’s famous Harbour Bridge.

Another project has been earmarked £2.1m to promote and protect the famous limestone landscapes around Ingleborough, one of the Three Peaks in the Yorkshire Dales. A partnership involving the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust charity aims to restore key habitats such as limestone pavement, flower-rich grassland, peat bogs and woodlands.

Apprentice builders will also be given the opportunity to gain valuable training by working on historic buildings while volunteers and pupils from local schools will be recruited to help with the conservation programme.

The third scheme in the region is due to be awarded £1.9m by the HLF to preserve internationally important wetlands in Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, called the Humberhead Levels.

The project led by North Lincolnshire Council is focusing on an area which includes the UK’s largest lowlands and raised peat bog complex. Rare birds, including breeding cranes and nightjars, thrive on the moors, but the bogs are at risk of drying out and the medieval landscapes lost forever.