Welsh beauty spots get £5.5m lottery cash

Clockwise from top left: Elan Valley, Penbont waterfall, Pontcysyllte aqueduct, an estuary by the Gwent levels, Image copyright Heritage Lottery Fund
Image caption The lottery windfall will benefit tourists and local businesses, officials say

Three picturesque Welsh landscapes have been handed a £5.5 million cash boost.

The Heritage Lottery Fund said the windfall will be shared between the Gwent Levels, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley as well as the Elan Valley.

It is hoped the investment will this create almost 4,000 training and volunteering places.

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales Richard Bellamy said: "These fragile places can also play a vital role in growing our nation's economy."

The Gwent Levels, in south Wales, had the biggest share of the cash with more than £2.5 million for the Living Levels Partnership - which aims to protect the areas wildlife.

Image copyright Heritage Lottery Fund
Image caption The Gwent Levels is one of the largest surviving areas of ancient grazing marshes and drainage ditch systems in Britain

The Elan Valley in mid Wales, which attracts 154,000 visitors a year, will receive more than £1.6 million.

Image copyright Heritage Lottery Fund
Image caption Pen Y Garreg dam, built in the 19th Century, holds more than six billion litres of water

Meanwhile, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley in north Wales will receive £1.3m for the Our Picturesque Landscape project - which aims to help preserve the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site.

Welsh Government's Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Lord Elis-Thomas said the lottery funds will "allow these landscapes to flourish".

"These areas are being rightly recognised not only for their natural beauty, but for the significant role they play in representing Wales' distinctive communities," he added.

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