The Tomorrow’s Heathland Heritage programme was one of the first major habitat restoration schemes supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Natural England, then as English Nature, led the programme. It was set up to make a real and lasting contribution to our natural environment and people’s understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of lowland heathlands.
The THH Programme, which began in 1997, will run to 2010 when the final project in the Orkney Islands finishes. The programme is now closed to applications and all funds have been allocated.
Lowland heathland is one of the most threatened habitats in Europe and the UK has a significant proportion - 20% of the world total. Since 1800, more than 80% of lowland heathlands in the UK have been lost, largely due to the impacts of agricultural reclamation, afforestation and building development.
THH has helped reverse the loss by:
• Restoring over 46,000 hectares,
• Re-creating nearly 2,500 hectares,
• Thereby contributing 80% of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan lowland heathland restoration target and 41% of the expansion target,
• Improving the condition of the habitat has also benefitted species such as the sand lizard and woodlark.
There are 25 THH projects valued at almost £26 million, of which £14 million was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund. They cover the length and breadth of the UK from the Orkney Isles to the Isles of Scilly, and from Northern Ireland to East Anglia.
THH works through local partnerships with over 140 different partner organisations, allowing the sharing of knowledge of heathland ecology and management experience, and the pooling of resources to develop geographically based projects.