Double, double, toil and trouble: Halloween funding boost for home of Pendle Witches!

Part of Pendle Hill carved with 1612 Credit: Alastair Lee

Today, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is marking the spookiest day of the year with a £31m investment in some of the UK’s most distinctive landscapes, including the home of the infamous 17th-century Pendle Witches. This major funding package - impacting 3,000km² of countryside - will support urgent conservation work to the natural and built heritage, help reconnect local communities to where they live and create 50 new jobs and 6,000 paid training places.

Tales of the Pendle Witches have passed into Lancashire legend: a time of fevered accusation and counter-accusation with 10 local people convicted of witchcraft and nine executed in 1612 as a result. The area has a wide and fascinating heritage and the Pendle Hill Partnership will help people gather and research it as well as a myriad of other stories, including the founding of the Quaker movement by George Fox.

Rory Stewart, Environment Minister, said: “This is wonderful news. The Heritage Lottery Fund is now playing an absolutely central role in conserving and restoring our landscape. This is only the beginning of what we can all do, working together, to really protect and transform nature and beauty across the British Isles. And above all, ensure people are connected to those landscapes, seeing them and enjoying them.”

The 13 areas benefiting from HLF’s investment stretch from the Orkney Isles in Scotland to Penwith’s peninsula on the south western tip of mainland England. Highlighting the extraordinary range of the UK’s natural heritage - from a World Heritage Site to Britain’s largest protected wetland – the areas funded include:

Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership Scheme, Forest of Bowland, Lancashire - £2m, including £156,400 development grant

Pendle Hill’s summit acts as a divide both geographically and socially to the communities who live on either side of it. The scheme includes restoring important wildlife and landscape features and researching local stories.  Formal skills apprenticeships will be available for 20 young people, four graduate trainees and one university student placement.  

Water, Mills and Marshes – The Broads Landscape Partnership, Norfolk – £2.6m, including £226,000 development funding

Located in the Southern part of the Broads National Park – the former Great Estuary – this beautiful but threatened drained marshland needs urgent help.  A consortium of 55 partners is taking action to help revive the area and get the surrounding community to support long-term conservation work. Local wildlife is wonderful but declining with threatened species including: water vole; marsh harrier; bittern; and the Norfolk hawker dragonfly.  A long-term goal of this project is to boost the local economy through improved business and tourism opportunities.

‘Our Picturesque Landscape’, Dee Valley, North East Wales - £1.4m, including £67,900 development grant

This scheme focuses on the landscape of the Dee Valley and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site. An inspiration to writers and artists for over 300 years, the area’s success as a tourist destination has also put it under increasing pressure. HLF’s support will enable much better management of visitor ‘hotspots’ such as The Panorama and a community partnership will look at cleaning up the River Dee in order to reduce flooding.  Key volunteering opportunities include the creation of a ‘stumpery’ – an upturned tree feature - in the Delly at Plas Newydd and training in traditional heritage skills such as hedge laying, dry stone walling and the use of lime mortar. 

Callander’s Pass – Mind the Gap – Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Scotland - £1.5m, including £119,600 development funding

This Landscape Partnership project is at the eastern most corner of Scotland’s first National Park, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. Set in an exquisite landscape along the Highland Boundary Fault in a geological ‘gap’ between the Lowlands and Highlands, Callander provides a natural gateway to the National Park and the Highlands.  Ambitious plans include: transforming the town of Callander into the 'Outdoor Capital of the National Park'; developing both cultural and natural heritage; and creating a cycling and walking network.

The other projects that have secured support are:

  • ‘Elan Links – People, Nature & Water’, Mid Wales - £1.7m, including £85,900 development funding
  • ‘Living Levels’ Partnership, Gwent, South Wales - £2.8m, including £321,100 development funding
  • North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme, Orkney Islands, Scotland – £3m, including £169,400 development funding
  • Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland - £2.9m, including £185,500 development funding
  • Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland – £2.9m, including £253,900 development funding
  • ‘Nenescape: Revealing the Hidden Stories of the Nene Valley’, Northampton - £2.8m, including £208,300 development funding
  • Brightwater Landscape Partnership, County Durham – £2.8m, including £223,100 development funding
  • ‘Revitalising Redesdale’, Northumberland - £1.8m, including £115,700 development funding
  • ‘First and Last – Our Living Working Landscape’, Penwith, Cornwall – £2.7m, including £140,600 development funding

Drew Bennellick, HLF Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage, said: “Landscapes are more than just beautiful scenery: they are the backdrop to some of history’s most notorious events.  What better way to mark Halloween than to look at how Pendle Hill with its bleak peat bogs and rugged heather moorland was witness to the witchcraft trials phenomenon that spread right across Lancashire in the 1600s.

“Now in its eleventh year, our Landscape Partnership programme has revealed so many fascinating hidden histories as well as protecting many of our most breath-taking and iconic landmarks.  This has all been achieved thanks to National Lottery players.”

HLF’s Landscape Partnership programme – which has now been running for over a decade - is the most significant grant scheme available for landscape-scale projects. To date, £146m has been invested in 86 different areas across the UK helping forge new partnerships between public and community bodies and ensuring people are better equipped to understand and tackle the needs of their local landscapes. Over its life-span, the LP programme has helped repair over 30 km of dry stone walls, enabled 150,000 people to participate in learning activities and helped more than 14,000 volunteers get involved – the equivalent of 20,000 working days.

Notes to editors

HLF’s Landscape Partnerships are helping bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to deliver schemes which benefit some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and rural communities. Grants range from £100,000 to £3m. The next closing date for LP applications is 1 June 2016 for decisions in October 2016. 
More than 3,100 Land and Biodiversity projects have received over £1.2bn from HLF.

Further information

Please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036,  mobile: 07973 613 820.

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