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Peak District earmarked for £2.5m grant

Words: Laura Edgar
Peak District South West

A total of £2.5 million has been earmarked for the South West Peak Landscape Partnership by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The money will go towards the Landscape at a Crossroads project, which aims to develop a better understanding of the Peak District landscape and evaluate what can be done to enhance and protect the national park in future. It was developed 10 years ago by HLF to enable it to deliver conservation “on a truly landscape scale.” Drew Bennellick, HLF head of landscape and natural heritage, explained: “With so many habitats and species in decline and people becoming less and less connected to nature and the land, the programme was the first of its kind to allow conservationists to work at a cross-landscape scale. The programme has grown rapidly and is now leading the way in allowing many of our most treasured landscapes, as well as some of our most damaged, to be managed for the future in a sustainable way.”

HLF has awarded the partnership an initial sum of £154,300 to progress plans to apply for the full grant at a later date, setting the rest aside.

This first phase will offer local people the opportunity to have their say about why the South West Park matters as well as work alongside the partnership to develop project ideas, including helping farmers maintain viable business, safeguarding and enhancing important habitats and species, working to improve river water quality and providing rural skills apprenticeships.

Lesley Roberts, chair of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: "As the first Staffordshire Parish Member chair, I am absolutely delighted at this funding for the South West Peak. It is the result of great partnership working and recognition of the importance of this unique and special Peak District landscape."