United Kingdom — Ilkley Moor looks destined to enjoy a happy new year, according to countryside chiefs and conservationists.
A final application has been submitted for a bumper £3 million boost to South Pennine upland areas and plans are in place for archaeological investigations and restoration of public footpaths on parts of Rombalds Moor.
The bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has been submitted by Pennine Prospects a partnership of local authorities, water companies and conservation bodies. The cash was earmarked earlier this year pending a detailed submission, and aims to improve the heritage, environment and profile of the area.
The South Pennines is the only upland landscape in England not to have statutory protection, despite containing 19 sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) and 82 scheduled ancient monuments, 52 of which lie on Rombalds Moor.
Bradford Councils rural programmes co-ordinator, Dave Melling, confirmed that the bid for the watershed landscape programme had been submitted.
He said: A decision is due in the middle of March with work starting in April if we are successful.
The money will allow us to deliver a three-year arts and archaeological programme and we will also be able to protect pathways that lead to the historical sites on Ilkley and Rombalds Moors.
The plan includes: l mapping and interpreting the Bronze Age landscape of Rombalds Moor, including the cup and ring stones l new stone flags flown in by helicopter to improve pathways across Crawshaw Moss and the boardwalk section of Dick Hudsons path l a community archaeologist based at Ilkleys Manor House Museum l peat restoration projects on land owned by utility companies l an inspiration arts and culture programme overseen by Cartwright Hall in Bradford A successful bid would add to the £1 million investment already announced by Government conservation body Natural England earlier this year, partly to restore Ilkley Moor after the devastating fires of 2006.
Dr Margaret Nieke, Natural Englands historic environment adviser, said the second phase of an archaeological survey of Ilkley Moor was being undertaken, with results expected early in the new year.
Its an exciting time for the moor as it has taken a while to help fire-damaged areas and it feels that everythings really coming together, she said.
The Friends of Ilkley Moor (FoIM) are also planning a 2010 events and learning programme and encouraging schools to become more involved. As well as path, tarn and paddling pool improvements, future work will include the woods that are part of the moor, such as Hebers Ghyll, Panorama Wood and Wheatley Raikes.
FoIM chairman Owen Wells said it had been an extraordinarily successful first year for the users group.
Our aim for 2010 must be to consolidate, to build up a larger membership and to develop our own income streams, from members, from visitors, and from endowments, to make us less dependent on the caprices of funding bodies, he said.