Lottery boost for Ouse Washes

CAMBRIDGESHIRE’S Ouse Washes could benefit from nearly �1 million Lottery funding to turn them into a distinctive visitor attraction.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has already given The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership �90,500 so they can develop schemes to improve access to “encourage people to visit, respect and appreciate the Ouse Washes nature reserves”.

Included in the plans are works to hold archaeological digs and conservation projects along the 48.5km route, which stretches from Manea and Welney to the North and Sutton, Earith and Needingworth to the south, to give people a greater understanding of their value.

Church, community and art projects will also be organised and new multimedia information sources that “tell the story of the landscape past and present” will be made available to “open up new dialogue that inform debates about changing and adapting management processes in the future”.

Once it has used the initial development money to progress its plans, it will be able to apply for the full �995,600 grant at a later stage.

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Kirsten Bennett of Cambridgeshire Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), which secured the money through its Landscape Partnership programme, said: “The Ouse Washes may not be ‘pretty’ in a picture-postcard sense.”

However she said the Washes did have “a unique charm of their own” and that “their cultural and built heritage needs to be celebrated and understood, both by those who live and work here and those who come to visit the area”.

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“This funding will us to work with local people and organisations to make this happen,” she said.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the East of England, said: “The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership is designed to help protect and celebrate a wonderful and distinctive part of East Anglia.

“With the Heritage Lottery Fund’s initial support, the scheme can start developing work to promote the area as a tourist destination whilst also encouraging local communities to learn more about its history and how best to conserve and manage it for the future.”

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