Causeway coast wartime sites set for conservation cash

By Conor Macauley
BBC NI Agriculture & Environment Correspondent

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image copyrightTourism NI
image captionSeveral sites along Northern Ireland's north coast are earmarked for heritage conservation cash

Some of Northern Ireland's most important military heritage sites are to be conserved in a new multi-million pound project.

The first tranche of money will allow work to begin on the scheme focused on the Causeway coast's Napoleonic, World War One, World War Two and Troubles-era buildings.

They include Aghanloo airfield in Limavady, County Londonderry.

image copyrightCCGHT
image captionAirfield control buildings at Aghanloo could be turned into educational sites

It is one of the region's best-preserved World War Two airfields.

The plan is to develop it as an educational site that will also have some commercial uses.

Grange Beg pillbox near Castlerock in County Londonderry - a scheduled monument within a National Trust nature reserve - could be adapted to become a sheltered hide for nature lovers.

image copyrightCCGHT
image captionGrange Beg pill box could be used as a look-out for bird watchers and nature lovers

There are also plans to develop the tourism potential of Magilligan heavy anti-aircraft battery, a few miles further west in County Londonderry.

Three guns were installed there during World War Two, supported by a complex of magazines, a command post and other accommodation.

image copyrightCCGHT
image captionThe anti-aircraft battery at Magilligan is in excellent condition, with many of its original features still intact

The Heritage Lottery Fund has released more than £200,000 to start the project.

The rest of the money will flow when the five-year scheme has been approved.

Three quarters of it will be provided by the fund, with the rest being raised by the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust, which is overseeing the project.