This week the Heritage Lottery Fund announced a grant of £3 million to conserve the landscape of Coigach-Assynt. The investment, including £100,000 development funding, aims to bring long-term social, economic and environmental benefits to the area.

Covering an area of 606km2, the Landscape Partnership project, part of a wider 40-year vision, has been developed by a partnership led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Activities will include restoring parts of the landscape such as regenerating and reconnecting remaining native woodland, restoring blanket bog and heath moor and improving paths. The internationally significant Iron Age settlement at Clachtoll Broch will be excavated and preserved. Local people and visitors will also be engaged through a comprehensive volunteering programme and a cultural learning programme which will increase understanding of this vast area’s complex heritage.

Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said, “Nature lies at the very heart of what makes Scotland special and no where is that more evident than the astounding scenery of Coigach-Assynt. However, the enormous pressures upon these landscapes mean that we have to tackle their restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before. The Landscape Partnership programme does just that, and more. It brings real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of the region while reconnecting its communities with the nature that lies on their doorstep.”

Project Manager of the Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape (CALL), Viv Halcrow, said, “This Heritage Lottery Funding could have a great impact across the whole Coigach-Assynt Living Landscape. It would  not only benefit the natural, cultural and built environment, but could help to increase integration between communities, landowners, and organisations. The CALL partnership is very grateful to have received a stage one pass and are looking forward to developing the project in preparation for a stage two submission.”

HLF’s Landscape Partnership (LP) programme – which has now been running for a decade – is the most significant grant scheme available for landscape-scale projects. To date, over £160m has been invested in 91 different areas across the UK helping forge new partnerships between public and community bodies and ensuring people are better equipped to understand and tackle the needs of their local landscapes.

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