Lottery funding awarded to forest project


The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded funding of £248,599 to the Building the Links for Rockingham Forest project.

The two-year project aims to connect people with the historic Rockingham Forest, once hunted by King John, through guided walks and workshops focussing on different aspects of the area's natural history. It is a partnership between North Northamptonshire Council, Natural England, Nene Rivers Trust and the Royal Forestry Society.

A series of walks and workshops will take place to engage people with the forest and its wildlife (Glyn Baker via Geograph).

The Nene Rivers Trust said it will "reconnect people with the natural environments that sustain them".

The forest stretches from Corby, Northamptonshire, to Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Leaders of the project said the area contains "some of the best ancient woodlands in England" but development, commercial forestry, agriculture and mineral extraction have "reduced and continue to impact adversely upon the forest's value".

Some of the ancient woodland extends into the town of Corby, where the project aims to celebrate nature in a more urban setting. Associated workshops will focus on building identification and woodland management skills, such as coppicing.

Kathryn Soares, Chief Executive of Nene Rivers Trust, said: "This funding will support our enthusiastic and committed partnership to realise ambitions to reconnect local people with the natural environments that sustain them."

The project received praise from Natural England. Tony Juniper, the body's chair, said it was "a fine example of the large scale ambition we must adopt as we plan for nature's recovery in England, not only helping the return of our depleted wildlife, but also enhancing the historic environment and providing more opportunities for everyone to enjoy this magnificent landscape".