Suffolk Heritage Coast shares in �18m conservation boost

Some of our most treasured landscapes are set to receive millions from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

They include Suffolk's Heritage Coast - a narrow coastal strip stretching from Kessingland, near Lowestoft, to Felixstowe.

The Heritage Lottery Fund last night revealed it had earmarked �18.3m to help provide 'long-term social, economic and environmental benefits' for 11 areas.

The sites include ancient woodland, reedbeds, marshes, dunes and former industrial land.

As well as conservation work, there will be a wide range of training opportunities on offer such as apprenticeships for disadvantaged youngsters, courses on hedgelaying, drystone walling and traditional dance and music sessions.

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HLF chair Dame Jenny Abramsky said: 'Landscapes speak to the heart, inspiring people in all sorts of ways, be it poetry-writing, architectural design or even just the pleasure of looking at a beautiful view.

'Sadly, they can often be taken for granted which is why the Heritage Lottery Fund, as one of the UK's biggest funders of the natural heritage, believes the way forward is to put local communities in the driving seat so they can take care of the places that are the backdrop to their daily lives.

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'Our Landscape Partnership programme has been a truly ground-breaking initiative, making a significant contribution to the way many organisations work together on landscape-scale conservation.'

Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: 'These sites are among the best of British views. The Heritage Lottery Fund is helping encourage partnerships across the country to protect and improve some of our most cherished landscapes.

'This funding will allow people to come together and learn valuable skills which will benefit the environment around them, protecting wildlife and maintaining our cultural heritage for years to come.'

So far, 11 areas have been through the first round of bidding - and they have been guaranteed 'development' money to help with the second round of bidding.

They only get the full grant if they are successful at the second round - but bidding authorities would need to go badly wrong to not land the money.

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