The Heritage Lottery Fund has announced initial support for a new Landscape Partnership in Binevenagh and the Coastal Lowlands area.
The five-year project will explore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage, inspire local communities to reconnect to the landscape and promote the area as a destination for outdoor activities.
Development funding of £204,200 was awarded to enable Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) to work up more detailed proposals in order to secure the full £2.8m grant requested.
Paul Mullan, head of HLF Northern Ireland, said: “Binevenagh and the Coastal Lowlands is an area of breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and untapped potential. We were impressed with these exciting proposals that put people right at the heart of this outstanding landscape, helping them to get involved in its future management, protection and use.”
The landscape of Binevenagh and the Coastal Lowlands was formed by volcanoes, glaciers and man. Its diverse habitats of sandy beaches, ancient woodland, maritime cliffs and blanket bogs are home to many EU priority species including peregrine falcon, Atlantic salmon, whooper swan and gold moths.
It also contains a number of defence heritage features, dating from Napoleonic times through to the First and Second World Wars and the Troubles.
The new Landscape Partnership will bring together a range of organisations to restore built heritage features, improve habitat and land management, and interpret and promote key heritage sites. It will enable local people to get involved in education, training and volunteer initiatives such as tour guiding, trail maintenance and community archaeology digs. Andrew Bratton, from CCGHT, said; “This is fantastic news for the Binevenagh area and for the people living, working or visiting there. This area of Northern Ireland has usually been bypassed in terms of heritage research, investment and promotion. The funding from the HLF will provide an opportunity for everyone to explore and enjoy the spectacular landscape and heritage on their doorsteps.
“Never have such a variety of stakeholders come together with a collective goal, backed by significant resources, to ensure that the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands area is firmly marked on the map as a special place to get out and learn about nature or explore our ancient and recent history.”