TWENTY-one projects to improve an area of Cumbria to the north of the Howgill fells will be delivered thanks to a £2.27 million National Lottery grant.

The Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme has been awarded the money to reveal, conserve and celebrate the rich geology, wildlife, cultural heritage and spectacular limestone landscapes of a 200 sq km area from Maulds Meaburn in the north to Tebay in the south-west and Ravenstonedale in the south-east.

The remote landscape supports a mix of habitats and an intact pattern of historical settlements. It boasts 79 scheduled monuments, 19 sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and two national nature reserves. However, it has been largely 'hidden’ for the last 70 years, tucked away between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

The projects will be delivered by a partnership of organisations over a four year period

Carl Lis, chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “Following the recent designation of the Westmorland Dales as part of the National Park, this wonderful news gives us the opportunity to create a strong foundation for its future.

"The injection of resources will help us reveal and conserve the area’s rich natural and cultural heritage; and promote the understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities, its tranquil and unspoilt character, and its unique heritage.

“At the heart of our efforts will be a focus on what is distinctive about the Westmorland Dales, using this to bring benefits that will help sustain the local economy in the coming years.”

David Evans, development officer at Friends of the Lake District, which is acting as the lead body on behalf of the partnership said: “We can’t wait to get started on the delivery of the scheme. We’ve worked with volunteers, community organisations, interest groups, farmers, landowners and businesses throughout the planning phase to help shape the projects.

"Now we look forward to working with these groups again to deliver a fantastic range of projects which will bring long-term benefits for the area’s unique heritage, and those who live in, work in and visit the area. A big thank-you to everyone who has contributed to the scheme to date, not least the National Lottery players who have made this funding possible. ”

Ros Kerslake, chief executive of Heritage Lottery Fund, said,