Natural England - South Pennine Watershed Landscape Project wins UK Landscape Award 2012

South Pennine Watershed Landscape Project wins UK Landscape Award 2012

27 November 2012

Congratulations to the South Pennine Watershed Project, which was chosen from a range of entrants from across the UK and will now go forward to the European Landscape Awards in 2013.

view from stoodley pike
View from Stoodley Pike © McCoy Wynne

As a partner in project managers, Pennine Prospects, Natural England is thrilled to see this project getting national and international recognitionexternal link.

The South Pennines-based project - managed by Pennine Prospects and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and South Pennine LEADER – has, for the past three years, involved people in local heritage projects, conserved the moorland, helped people explore the landscape, and hosted a programme of exciting events and activities.

The project brings a wide-range of benefits to people across the region. The Watershed Landscape is the upland area of the South Pennines where Lancashire meets Yorkshire. It’s where much of those counties’ essential drinking water falls as rainwater and is channelled into reservoirs that riddle the moorland.  More than a million people live in or around the South Pennine uplands yet they can still feel remote, wild and exhilarating. A place for reflection, relaxation and inspiration. They have already inspired artists and writers over generations from the Brontës to Ted Hughes; from Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth to Joseph Pighills, and continue the tradition today. The history of the place runs deep and many clues to its past lie scattered across its surface; from pre-historic flint tools and Bronze-Age carved rocks to more recent relics of industrial and agricultural hard graft.  The natural landscape is built on foundations of grit and peat, making it a rich home for special moorland flora and fauna.

Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon said landscapes were important for the health and well-being of society, our cultural identity and for the diverse habitats that exist  “I am delighted that the South Pennine Watershed Landscape Project has won this award. It is a project with wide-ranging impact, a powerful expression of local identity and sense of place and is testament of the hard-work of the people who have played their part in the formation of this distinct landscape.  It is within an hour of where seven million people live and is an internationally important area for birds, a vital store of carbon, a place to visit for walkers and cyclists that enhances rural tourism and an inspiration to artists and writers.”

Judges were impressed with how the Project had sought to raise awareness on a number of different levels – from improving physical access to the landscape to getting people to think differently about their landscape.
Achievements to date include:

  • The active participation of 30 community groups actively involved in the project and 1,300 volunteers donating 7,000 hours of their time.

  • More than 1,700 school children from 36 schools taking part in landscape-based activities from poetry writing to building their own mini peat bog.

  • Woodland creation, dry-stone walling improvement and restoration of hay meadows and moorland. Over 1,600 fields are now able to support rare species, such as the twite, known locally as the Pennine finch.

  • Improvements to rights of way conditions and access, creating new tourism opportunities. The South Pennine Walk and Ride Festival, part-funded by the Project, attracted more than 5,000 participants over 100 events this year.

In addition to its involvement with Pennine Prospects, Natural England staff sit on the project board and several working groups, are a key partner in the twite recovery programme and seconded a staff member to write the first stage funding bid.  You can find out more about the Watershed Landscape on the project websiteexternal link.