Heritage Lottery Fund support secured A £3.5m grant to unlock and reveal the hidden heritage and landscape of the Westmorland Dales has been given initial approval¹ by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme². Friends of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have been given the green light to develop an ambitious joint project. The project has been designed to encourage community organisations, interest groups, public and private sectors to work in partnership to deliver a raft of initiatives aimed at revealing what is hidden in the landscape and used to connect people with what is special and distinctive about the area. The project has three main aims. To unlock and reveal the rich, spectacular, but hidden heritage of the Westmorland Dales. To conserve and enhance the forgotten landscape and heritage of the Westmorland Dales ensuring that the landscape is protected and cherished; in so doing to provide a strong foundation for the “new” National Park. To provide opportunities for those journeying through the Westmorland Dales to linger in the landscape and learn about its rich cultural and natural heritage. The project area will extend over 200 sq km from Maulds Meaburn to Tebay in the West and Ravenstonedale in the south. It’s an area that now forms part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park following the extension to park boundaries in August although still lying within the county of Cumbria. It also contains a unique assemblage of cultural heritage including a remarkably intact pattern of historic settlements and associated earthworks. Earthworks in the Orton area range in age from prehistoric stone circles, cairns, and burial mounds to medieval furrow and field systems. Douglas Chalmers, Chief Executive, Friends of the Lake District said, Until recently the Westmorland Dales were the forgotten landscape; a hole in England’s landscape designation. The area’s outstanding landscape has been shaped by its tremendously rich cultural heritage over many generations. Heritage Lottery Fund support gives us the opportunity to work alongside local communities to record, interpret, conserve and manage the exceptional natural and cultural heritage of the area and ensure that many future generations are able to continue to enjoy it. The project will provide training for volunteers and establish a framework for the coordination and promotion of volunteering opportunities in the area beyond the lifetime of the project. Many of the projects within the scheme will provide opportunities for volunteers to develop skills and work to conserve the landscape and its heritage and to promote the special qualities of the area. Carl Lis, Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park said, This is a fantastic opportunity for the Westmorland Dales. In partnership with the local communities, support of the Heritage Lottery Fund helps us lay the foundation for the newly designated national park giving us resources to help people look after and connect with, enjoy and benefit from this inspirational landscape and to share the distinctiveness of this special place with visitors. Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund said, Our historic landscapes are incredibly important to people’s wellbeing and need to be protected. Some of the landscapes we are funding today are in the most remote parts of the UK; others form an important backdrop to some of our largest cities. What they all have in common is the potential to make people’s lives better, which is why they are so richly deserving of National Lottery money. A development grant of £317,204 has been awarded by HLF to enable Friends of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to develop their plans and seek final approval for the grant amount of £3.2m for implementation at a later date. Additional notes: ¹ HLF’s Landscape Partnership (LP) programme operates a two-stage grant approval process. Today’s announcement means that money has been set aside by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the scheme. The applicant initially receives development funding, then progresses to the second round and submits a further, fully-developed application to secure the full award. This early level of strong financial commitment means that Landscape Partnership projects can move forward with the assurance that funding for their scheme is in place provided that their final proposals fully meet the programme's criteria. ² HLF’s Landscape Partnerships are helping bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to deliver schemes which benefit some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and rural communities. Grants range from £100,000 up to £3m. The next closing date for LP applications is May 2017.