The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has announced funding of nearly £5m towards two natural heritage projects
Beneficiaries of the money are the UK-wide ‘Saving our Magnificent Meadows’ and southwest England’s ‘The Great Heath Living Landscape’ projects.
Some £2.1m will help Plantlife International deliver a three-year project of conservation work to safeguard nine meadow and grassland sites right across the UK including sites in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland as well as in the southeast, southwest and northeast England.
The Great Heath Living Landscape area, which stretches from Poole Harbour to the New Forest encompassing Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and East Dorset, will receive £2.7m.
The area is made up of an extremely diverse range of habitats including lowland heathland, fens, acid grassland, coastal and floodplain grazing marsh and ancient semi-natural woodland. Dorset Wildlife Trust is leading the initiative which will provide a unique opportunity to secure and enhance this Natural England ‘Focus Area’.
The projects will bring together a variety of partners and are part of a wider package of £16m of HLF support, also announced by HLF.
‘The Heritage Lottery Fund is one of the most important funders of biodiversity across the entire UK having invested in over 3,000 similar projects over the years,’ says chief executive Carole Souter. ‘We’ve been able to help environmental charities look after some of our most vulnerable habitats, from acid grasslands and lowland meadows, to heathland and ancient woodland.’
The news follows the recent State of Nature report, she adds, which illustrated ‘the perilous state’ of our natural heritage.
HLF has also awarded ‘initial support plus development funding’ to the Capability Brown Birthday and Festival; Lister Steps Carnegie Community Hub, Liverpool; and CITiZAN: the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (spread across England’s coast).