A major project to care for the historic landscape of the Galloway Glens has won £2.73million of funding from the National Lottery.
The grant was awarded this week to the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, which aims to reconnect local people and communities with the area’s natural beauty.
It will involve local villages and communities in conserving and restoring the built and natural heritage across an area of 262 miles around the Dee and Ken valleys. Features will include new paths, watersport facilities and visitor centres to support the local tourist economy. There will also be training for local young people in heritage and business skills while local businesses will be supported in promoting nature-based tourism.
Sir Alex Fergusson, the scheme’s chairman, said: “This is the news that we have all been waiting for and is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and effort by many people over the last 18 months.
“This scheme will provide funding to a range of projects that will highlight and connect people to their local heritage, but we will all be working for it to be even more than that - aiming to support the local economy and tackling bigger challenges such as ageing demographics, public health and really putting the area on the map.”
The area is the first UK Dark Sky Park, is Scotland’s first Biosphere, has Scotland’s only bat reserve and contains seven priority habitats which are home to a host of wildlife. Changing global issues combined with local pressures, however, have resulted in a dramatic decline or loss of many species such as water vole and black grouse. As part of the project, peatland will be restored and best practice plans developed. Many species will benefit as a result of plans to develop Threave Nature Reserve into a wetland habitat of national importance and to improve river banks to encourage fish populations back into the River Dee.
Lucy Casot, head of the HLF in Scotland said: “Massive community consultation has shown that the people of Galloway are keen to make a difference to the wonderful natural asset they have on their doorstep. HLF is delighted to help them achieve that goal.”