South West Wales

Gower gets £1.3m lottery grant to protect landscape

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Media captionLocal people will be invited to help conserve the area

A grant of more than £1.3m has been awarded to ensure the landscape of Gower in south Wales is protected.

The money from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will go towards the £2m "Saving Gower - for All its Worth" project.

It aims to open up more space of largely unspoilt land, improve coastal walls and conserve the industrial heritage of the area.

Gower was the UK's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and boasts a number of historic sites.

HLF Committee for Wales chair Manon Williams said: "Ensuring that our rich, natural heritage is well looked after is just as important to us at HLF as protecting our historic built environment.

"As the UK's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and as a tourist attraction in itself, it is vital that the landscape of the Gower Peninsula is preserved and maintained.

"We are very glad to be working with the project partners and local communities in this very good cause."

Local activities

The funding has been provided through the Heritage Lottery Fund's Landscape Partnership programme which provides grants for schemes led by partnerships aiming to conserve areas of distinctive landscape character.

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Media captionGilbert John reports on the Gower project

Guto ap Gwent from the Gower Society called it "good news" for the area.

"It's not often that Gower is offered a large sum of money like this," he said.

"We do approach the project with a degree of caution which tempers our enthusiasm to an extent.

"But I can tell you, we and the partners have one goal in them: that is the protection of Gower.

"The project will take matters forward and improve what's available for the visitors. By doing that we'll gain the respect of the visitors.

"There's a very rich industrial heritage here as well which will interest the discerning visitor."

Gower peninsula is home to historic sites from the prehistoric to industrial period and includes Upper Palaeolithic caves, a Bronze Age funerary and ritual sites and Iron Age hill forts.

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Media captionFootage of the Gower peninsula

Working with local landowners, the project will look to conserve these sites and protect them from invasive species.

Volunteers will be trained to lead activities involving the local community, schools and universities in conserving and learning more about the landscape in the four-year plan.

Proposed community activities range from surveys on ancient hedge banks to launching a virtual visitor centre.

In 1956, Gower was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), leading the way for others around the UK. Among its prized habitats are heathlands, grasslands, fresh and salt water marshes, as well as historic ancient woodlands

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