Landscapes to share £3m of lottery money

TWO CONTRASTING rural Yorkshire landscapes are to share almost £3m to help conserve wildlife, preserve historic buildings and habitats and encourage tourism.

The Upper Nidderdale landscape

The money from the Heritage Lottery Fund will benefit the Dearne Valley in the eastern Pennine foothills between Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster, which has received £1.8m from the HLF towards a wide range of projects.

The Dearne Valley comprises agricultural land and areas of wetlands, river valley habitats, grasslands and woodlands. A grant of £1.2m has been awarded to improve wildlife habitats and historic buildings in the Upper Nidderdale area of North Yorkshire.

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The area, dominated by the peak of Great Whernside, consists of heather moorland, rocky crags and farms on grassland plateau. In the Dearne Valley, some of the money will be spent involving the local community to get involved in proposed archaeological investigations at various sites.

It is also proposed to spend money improving the Maurice Dobson Museum at Darfield and on restoring the Glassby Arch at Mexborough, a listed building created by renowned sculptor Robert Glassby.

Community groups in the Dearne Valley will be encouraged to apply for their own small grants and funds will be spent improving cycle and walking paths and signs.

The HLF grant will create and support four posts over the next five years. The project is led by Barnsley Council.

Councillor Roy Miller, the council’s Cabinet member for development, environment and culture said: “This is an exciting and innovative opportunity for the Dearne Valley that will have a long term impact and benefits. It provides a great opportunity to work with the local communities across the Dearne to protect what is there and make more people aware of what a wonderful area this is.”

In Upper Nidderdale, the grant will support a wide range of projects in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which is recognised on a national and European scale for its flora and fauna including supporting a bird population that includes merlin, golden plover and redshank.

One project will seek the preserve the remains of Prosperous mine, a former lead mine at Ashfoldside near Pateley Bridge.

The grant will also help conserve a former hamlet called Lodge village, near Scar House reservoir. Farmers and landowners will also be encouraged to restore and improve wildflower meadows.

Local communities will be involved through training and volunteer programmes. Visitor trails will be created and outreach work will tap into schools and urban communities in Leeds and Bradford. The project is led by Harrogate Council.

Nigel Simms, chairman of the Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, said: “The Partnership is delighted to receive this award from HLF, which will enable us to invest in Upper Nidderdale’s natural and historic environment. Just as importantly, it will also allow us to increase opportunities for people to find out more about Upper Nidderdale’s special landscape.”