An ambitious scheme to restore local natural heritage and improve access to the stunning landscape surrounding Bath has secured £1.65 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Bathscape Landscape Partnership, made up of conservation organisations, community groups, businesses, universities and the Council, will oversee a five-year investment programme working with local people to restore the stunning natural heritage and encourage its enjoyment.
Not only will the heritage benefit, a greater number and wider range of people will be encouraged to actively enjoy and learn about the landscape, with a particular focus on communities of need.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the partnership will bring 25 projects to life which will restore the landscape, enhance access, revitalise its use to improve health, and provide a wide range of training and skills opportunities.
Projects in the scheme include:
- Improving the condition and management of important woodlands, grasslands and historic landscape features;
- Providing training, opportunities and resources for local people to get involved in the study and enhancement of the local landscape;
- A five-year programme of walks and other public events in the landscape including the annual Bathscape Walking Festival and healthy walking groups linked to GP surgeries;
- A waymarked ‘round Bath’ promoted walking network;
- Working with schools and education providers to encourage outdoor learning and develop skills.
The Bathscape area stretches from Charmy Down to the north of the city, to Combe Hay in the south, and from Kingsdown to the east to Corston in the west.
The projects were developed through 18 months of consultation with residents, landowners and organisations, and partnership will continue to be at the heart of their delivery.
Match-funding together with donations from partners and volunteers in the form of time and materials will increase the total to £2.2 million invested in the landscape.
Andrew Grant, Bathscape Partnership Chair, said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Bathscape is internationally recognised for its role as the green setting of the City of Bath World Heritage Site but it is also a great resource for residents.
“Along with more than 100,000 people, the area is home to a huge variety of wildlife, features of historic, geological and archaeological interest and abounds with cultural history.
“Over the next five years we will be encouraging people to join us in helping to protect and enjoy our stunning local landscape.”
Councillor Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods. added: “This is a significant investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund which recognises the importance of our landscape as well as the way we have worked as a partnership to secure such a significant amount of money.
“Over the next five years 25 projects will happen, each one enhancing and protecting the wonderful landscape surrounding Bath.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “Our historic landscapes are incredibly important to people’s wellbeing and need to be protected. Bath is often portrayed as the wealthy and genteel city beloved of Jane Austen fans, but it is also a place of contrasts with a gulf in access to green spaces that National Lottery funding can help address.
“Bathscape will inspire a greater number of people to explore and get involved with the important natural environment on their doorstep, with all the benefits to health and wellbeing that brings.”