Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Dearne Valley conservation project in line for lottery grant

Dearne Valley
Image caption Work has taken place over the past five years to improve rivers and their washlands and create new cycle routes across the valley

A conservation project that will help protect habitats in South Yorkshire's Dearne Valley has won support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The valley, once the heart of the extensive South Yorkshire coalfield, is said to have suffered greatly due to rapid de-industrialisation.

The HLF has agreed in principle to pay Barnsley Council £1.8m to carry out conservation work.

The council has been given £89,500 so it can prepare a final bid for funding.

The scheme would also include a programme of community outreach events, including exhibitions and workshops, to promote the area to local people and recruit volunteers.

Councillor Linda Burgess, Barnsley Council's cabinet member responsible for the environment, said the Dearne Valley was a "unique living landscape but it is overlooked or misunderstood".

She said the RSPB's Dearne Valley nature reserve demonstrated the potential for the area, as it attracted more than 100,000 visitors every year.

Mrs Burgess added: "It is opportunities like this that can be built on, encouraging more visitors into the area, providing people with a chance to learn new skills, making more people aware of the area and protecting the precious heritage and environment."

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