The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership is celebrating after being given the green light by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fully develop its plans to safeguard the future of the Black Down and Burrington commons.
Discovering Black Down is a new Mendip Hills AONB project that will help conserve the heritage landscapes, wildlife habitats and archaeological features of this nationally important site.
This HLF first-round pass*, including £9,400 of development funding, means that the AONB can progress to the second-round of the HLF application process, where they will be applying for over £195,995 as part of a total project valuing £250,000to deliver a 3-year programme of works.
Black Down is designated as a Site of Special Scientific interest for its valuable wildlife habitats and a Scheduled Monument for its archaeology from the late Stone Age and Bronze Age through to the Second World War. The project will encourage greater understanding of the heritage values of the area by engaging local communities and visitors to the site through a range of learning and participation projects. It will also develop new volunteering opportunities for people to get involved in safeguarding the commons for the future.
Alongside these works the AONB aim to carry out work to restore and repair badly eroded paths, as well as protecting wildlife habitats and archaeology on Black Down.
The legacy of the project will be to leave a sustainable structure so that local community and user group volunteers can take an active role in the care and conservation of the area’s heritage.
The AONB has worked with a group comprising the landowner and conservators of Black Down, Natural England, English Heritage and local authority Rights of Way teams and involved local communities and users of the site in developing the project.
Commenting on the grant award AONB Manager Sarah Jackson said, “With its fine views, visible archaeology and wealth of wildlife Black Down is one of the finest sites in the Mendip Hills AONB. With this grant we are looking forward to bringing the meaning of the landscape to life so people are more likely to care for this special place in the years to come”.
Richard Bellamy, acting Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said,
“We at the Heritage Lottery Fund are pleased to support Mendip Hills AONB Partnership and bring their vision a step-closer to reality. This project has the potential to give many more people the opportunity to learn about and explore the heritage of this precious landscape. There is still work to be done in developing the project but HLF will be offering their full support in taking their application further.”
*A first-round pass means the project meets our criteria for HLF funding and is believed to have the potential to deliver high-quality benefits and value for Lottery money. The application was in competition with other supportable projects, so a first-round pass is an endorsement of outline proposals. Having been awarded a first-round pass, the project now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals to compete for a firm award.