Forgotten Landscapes Partnership

Hills landscape in Blaenavon

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • The landscape is in better condition as a result of bracken control, heather management and repairs to historic boundaries. Grazing stock to be returned to over 300 hectares of common land and red grouse numbers have increased from 60 to 100. Commoners, people who have the legal right to graze cattle, are more committed to sustaining livestock farming on the uplands and are working together more closely.
  • Industrial heritage is in better condition and is better understood as a result of restoration works to features such as workers’ cottages and steam powered winding gear.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for people

  • Fifty volunteers have developed skills in archaeology, wildlife monitoring, public engagement and practical countryside management. A separate dry stone walling group has been set up and volunteers now run an annual walking festival. The volunteer archaeology group was set up following training in landscape archaeology, which involved 60 adults, 15 research projects and led to the award of 25 professional qualifications.
  • Over 5,000 children in 30 schools learnt more about Blaenavon’s heritage through joining the scheme’s Explorer Programme. This involved explorer walks, workshops, teacher training, production of resource packs and the training of 15 Landscape Explorer guides.
  • Over 300 adults have learnt about landscape heritage through a combination of 14 formal accredited courses and learning activities such as beekeeping and foraging sessions.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for communities

  • Historic transport links have connected over 6,000 people in 18 communities and enabled them to celebrate their shared heritage through annual festivals.
  • Landscape crime, including illegal off-road driving, wildfires and flytipping, has been reduced as a result of visible police presence, dedicated to the project; education; and the creation of alternative less environmentally damaging scramble bike trails. Damage and crime has reduced and people are now more aware of the negative impacts that crime in the landscape and anti-social behaviour can have.
  • Over 15 kilometres of walking and cycling routes have been created or improved. Better interpretation has also been installed to encourage greater use of the routes and to boost cultural tourism in the area. 
  • Micro-hydro electricity generation has enabled a regular source of income. This is being used to fund and support a group of conservation volunteers by providing materials, tools and a work vehicle. This will help ensure landscape conservation continues in the future.

Lessons learnt

  • Setting up a single, dedicated delivery team and spending time and effort to build relationships with stakeholders from the start was critical to the success of the scheme.
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