The Heritage Lottery Fund has officially awarded us a grant of £2.4m to help develop a better understanding of this unspoilt corner of the Peak District and help enhance and protect it in the future.
We are very excited about how the HLF grant will help this hidden gem of the Peak District, a land of peace and quiet unspoilt by tourism. The South West Peak is a crossroads where the uplands join the lowlands at spectacular gritstone edges, with close communities and a fierce spirit.
Two years after the partnership received development funding, the full grant has now been confirmed through the HLF’s Landscape Partnership programme. The money will help farmers maintain their businesses while safeguarding and enhancing important habitats like hay meadows and iconic species such as the curlew. The partnership will work to improve water quality in rivers and streams, provide field study opportunities and rural skills apprenticeships, encourage people to access and enjoy the countryside, protect and restore field barns and small heritage features and provide plenty of volunteering opportunities.
A total of 18 projects of varying lengths will be launched over the five-year life of the scheme, with community groups able to apply for grants of up to £10,000 for their own projects to benefit the area.
Sheila Hine, who farms in the South West Peak and is involved with the Landscape at a Crossroads scheme, said: “We are fortunate to live in a unique area but there are many things connected to farming and the countryside in general that are under pressure at the moment. This support from the HLF will hopefully make a big difference.’’
The South West Peak Landscape Partnership is led by the Peak District National Park Authority and also includes Staffordshire and Cheshire Wildlife Trusts, Natural England, Environment Agency, Historic England, RSPB, The Farming Life Centre, Support Staffordshire (Staffordshire Moorlands), Nature Peak District, Staffordshire County Council, Cheshire East Council, Severn Trent Water and United Utilities.
Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “I am absolutely delighted at this HLF grant for the South West Peak. It is the result of some great partnership working and is recognition of the importance of this special Peak District landscape. This is good news for the local community, good news for visitors and good news for wildlife.’’
Vanessa Harbar, Head of the HLF West Midlands, said: “We’re delighted that we’re able to support the South West Peak Landscape Partnership Scheme to preserve and enhance this unique and distinctive landscape. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the scheme can implement a wide range of programmes to combat environmental challenges and involve local people in protecting the iconic species and historic character of South West Peak for future generations.”