On the 31st October 2015 the HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) announced that Dumfries and Galloway Council has been awarded funding towards the development of the Galloway Glens project. A total of £2.9m has also been set aside by HLF for the project to be used on successful completion of the development stage.
The Countryside Service team developed Galloway Glens project covers 600 square kilometres of the Ken/Dee valley and aims to reconnect people with their natural, cultural and built heritage. It involves a wide number of statutory, voluntary and private sector partners along with members of the communities in the valley. The development stage will take until May 2017 with work on the ground starting in August 2017 and continuing for 5 years.
Focusing on the catchment of the Ken/Dee river system the project aims to improve fragile habitats, benefiting wildlife which rely on them, celebrating and interpreting the countryside and helping local communities build resilient local economies in balance with their landscape and wildlife.
The HLF have recognised the outstanding assets of this area which is home to some special wildlife and has a host of local, national and international designations as it is located within the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, is a regional scenic area and part of the Galloway Forest Dark Sky Park.
Councillor Colin Smyth, Chairman of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, said, “I’m delighted that our Council has been successful in taking the first major step towards securing significant Heritage Lottery Fund support for the Galloway Glens project. The hard work and vision from our Council’s Countryside Service in developing a project that will help restore and conserve the landscape of the area has paid off. This ground breaking and exciting project will not only help transform and conserve hundreds of miles of our natural, built and cultural heritage but will deliver a range of opportunities for local communities, including training in rural heritage skills for 16 to 24 year olds, learning opportunities for school pupils and conservation skills. This project will really enable local communities to be more fully engaged in land management in our region. Building the local economy is the number one priority of our Council and this announcement shows we are determined to achieve this in every part of Dumfries and Galloway, urban and rural alike.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said, “Our species and habitats are under constant threat yet they make a massive contribution to our economy. HLF is delighted to make this award as it will make a real difference to the Galloway area and the people that live there. Thanks to National Lottery players, nature-based tourism can be developed without detriment to the beautiful surroundings and people will reconnect with, and appreciate the nature that makes Scotland so special.”
The project is a partnership of many statutory, private and voluntary organisations including SNH, Forestry Commission Scotland, SEPA, NTS, Historic Scotland, Scottish Power, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, RSPB, Southern Uplands Partnership, Solway Firth Partnership, Crichton Carbon Centre, Catstrand, Lock Ken Advisory Management Group, Galloway Fisheries Trust as well as many voluntary groups, individuals and businesses.
The development stage of our Galloway Glens Heritage Lottery Landscape Partnership Scheme will be starting very soon. People living in the Ken/Dee valley will be invited to help decide how the project develops. Further information including opportunities to get involved will be posted on social media and in the press.