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Allen Valleys Project Secures Heritage Lottery Fund Support
2012-07-23

The North Pennines AONB Partnership has been given the go-ahead to progress plans for an exciting £1.8m community project to celebrate the heritage and landscapes of the Allen Valleys in Northumberland.

Walking in the East Allen Valley, near Allenheads (c) NPAP

Walking in the East Allen Valley, near Allenheads

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced today (Monday July 23 2012) that the Partnership had been successful in securing an earmarked first-round pass7 for development funding of £74,500 through its Landscape Partnership programme to further develop proposals for the four-year project which could ultimately secure funding of £1,811,100. This project is one of 13 initiatives across the UK which have been granted first-round passes totalling £20m of investment in landscape-scale projects.

The project aims to celebrate all that is special in the landscapes and heritage of this part of the North Pennines, engaging with schools, community groups and local businesses to secure a lasting legacy of cultural, environmental and economic benefits.

Some of the proposals for further development are to:

  • Create a community orchard and hay meadow, owned and managed by local people.
  • Restore Deneholme Edwardian pleasure gardens in Allendale as a community action project so that local people and visitors alike can enjoy the gardens once again.
  • Build a network of electric bike and car charging points and create a community business in the hire of electric bikes, giving tourism in the area a boost and increasing the numbers of people who can enjoy the countryside.
  • Carry out a wide range of habitat and wildlife projects:
    • restore, conserve and connect species-rich upland hay meadows
    • restore 40ha of eroded peatlands
    • create 50ha of new native woodlands to link existing woods.
  • Establish a community observatory and planetarium to promote the enjoyment and understanding of the area’s nationally significant truly dark skies.
  • Provide opportunities for young people in the Allen Valleys to train in heritage conservation, and establish a year-long project with local schools which will explore how a changing environment might directly affect the Allen Valleys and how people and nature adapt to it.
  • Establish a visitor gifting scheme to enable visitors to the Allen Valleys to directly support projects and initiatives that will look after the special qualities of the landscape.
  • Working with tourism businesses and the community in the Allen Valleys to develop a series of visitor packages, linking accommodation with community events and heritage experiences available locally.

Chris Woodley-Stewart, Director of the North Pennines AONB Partnership said: “This is great news for the Allen Valleys, and we look forward to working closely with local people to make our shared vision a reality. This wide-ranging project will enhance the environment and the visitor economy of the area and will help ensure that the landscape of this part of the AONB remains a beautiful, natural and economically vibrant and sustainable place to live, visit and make a living.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: The Allen Valleys are one of the North East’s most distinctive landscapes thanks to a wealth of ancient woodlands, hay meadows and abandoned industrial heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund is pleased to be giving initial support for this project so it can move a step closer to putting the area’s natural and cultural assets once more at the heart of the local community.”

North Pennines AONB Partnership staff will now start work with local community groups and organisations to fully develop the project. A full application will be submitted to the HLF next summer.

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