Rural conference to unearth £5m plan
Published Thursday, 01 March 2012
An ambitious £5million improvement programme is set to revitalise the Clyde and Avon valleys over the next five years.
A series of interlinked projects will tackle the environmental needs of the landscape with plenty of opportunities for local people to learn, participate, contribute and celebrate the history and heritage of the area and how it has shaped the landscape we see today.
The area covers the Clyde valley, from the Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve Falls of Clyde in New Lanark to Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton, then southwards along the River Avon Valley from Hamilton to Strathaven.
It straddles the boundary between North and South Lanarkshire which runs along the River Clyde, and includes the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve, a number of important designed landscapes, and the orchards of the Clyde.
The beauty of the landscape is designated to be of special value in the councils' respective Local Planning documents and is incorporated in the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership which brings together South Lanarkshire Council as the lead partner, Scottish Natural Heritage, North Lanarkshire Council, Central Scotland Forest Trust, Clydesdale Community Initiatives, Forestry Commission, RSPB, The Rural Development Trust, New Lanark Trust and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
The main aim of the partnership is to work together to conserve and enhance the area and strengthen the connection between communities and the landscape by:
- providing a range of volunteering and learning opportunities
- developing heritage skills and strengthening land management practices
- raising awareness of the historic and cultural importance of the valleys
- conserve and restore key features of the landscape and introduce new elements that reinforce the characteristics that make our valley landscape special
Partners will work together with local communities, schools and landowners to manage and create native woodland and orchards, encourage volunteering and help existing community groups.
Work and training opportunities for young and unemployed people will also be provided in skills that are important for maintaining the landscape for future generations.
More details of the scheme will be announced at the 2012 South Lanarkshire Rural Partnership Community Conference on Thursday 8 March at the South Lanarkshire Lifestyles Centre in Carluke.
Councillor Eileen Logan, chair of the rural partnership, said: "The combination of ancient woodland, wood pasture, orchards and horticulture created over the past centuries has left a landscape mosaic that is highly attractive and outstandingly rich in biodiversity.
"We have a tremendous natural asset right here on our doorstep and this project will help people to understand what makes the valleys special and so help them to enjoy and appreciate it even more."
The Rural Conference will also share ideas on how communities can become more effective in identifying local priorities and deliver key projects.
South Lanarkshire Council's Head of Regeneration Services, Jim McCaffer, said: "We are particularly interested in engaging the local community as it is they who are vital to the success of the project.
"It provides an exciting and wide range of opportunities for people to re-connect with the landscape and will hopefully encourage everyone to get out doors to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds them."
At the conference there will also be opportunities to participate in workshops on funding, heritage projects and volunteering.
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "The Clyde & Avon Valley is a beautiful area but its inherent beauty needs to be managed if we are to prevent it from becoming overgrown, inaccessible and unable to sustain our indigenous species.
"The Landscape Partnership programme does just that, and more. What communities have often already started on a small scale, HLF is delighted to take forward, bringing real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of a region and reconnecting people with what often lies overlooked on their doorstep."
And Councillor Logan added: "We are looking forward to an interesting and practical discussion that we hope will encourage community groups to work together and with the Rural Partnership to develop projects that aim to improve the quality of life in rural South Lanarkshire.
"Much has already been achieved and there is a wealth of experience that can be passed on to others."
The conference will start at 6pm however participants are invited to join the Partnership any-time after 5pm for soup and sandwiches.
To register and book your place please email Kenny Mackie (email - Kenny.firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 01698 454420. You can also email Colin McFarlane (email - email@example.com) or call 01698 455922.