Cumbrian coastal scheme awarded £2m grant

Wedholme Flow mosses, Solway Plain The money will also be used to reintroduce the marsh fritillary butterfly into the area

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A restoration scheme on the Cumbrian coast has been awarded nearly £2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The Solway Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme will use the £1,893,200 to restore and conserve heritage in the North West.

It will also be used to improve access for visitors and those wishing to learn more about the landscape.

Alex Sijpesteijn, development officer for the project, said the group was "delighted" to have received the grant.

Covering the Solway Plain and some of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the area includes rare habitats and a unique landscape of rivers, streams and ditches for rare species of plants and animals.

The scheme will focus on creating a patchwork of restored wetland sites that will link the main areas and provide habitat corridors for wildlife.

'Precious landscape'

A new Solway Plains Cultural Heritage Centre will also be created at Holme Cultram Abbey and a Solway Wetland Centre at RSPB North Plain.

Ms Sijpesteijn said: "We are delighted to have been awarded the grant by Heritage Lottery Fund.

"The project will help conserve the lowland raised mires and also enable many more people to get involved in the landscape of the Solway Plain through archaeological work, apprenticeships, countryside skills training, education and conservation volunteering.

"The Solway Plain is a precious landscape and this project will help to conserve it."

The money will also be used to reintroduce the marsh fritillary butterfly into the area and create a fund for community led projects and archaeological research in the area.

The scheme is in partnership with Natural England, Environment Agency, RSPB, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, West Cumbria Tourism, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Trust and the Diocese of Carlisle.

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