£2.5m boost for world-class site

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The iconic landscape of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site in Belper is set to be restored and safeguarded – thanks to a £2.5million project.

Heritage chiefs are celebrating this week after the major scheme was given the go-ahead.

The project, to be led by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Derbyshire County Council, will provide grants to improve the landscape – where the factory system began at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

It will also restore wildlife habitats, involve volunteers, protect features such as dry stone walls and ancient trees, offer education and arts activities and a chance to train in a variety of traditional skills.

Adrian Farmer, pictured, heritage co-ordinator for the Heritage Site, said: “The landscape around Belper is very important to the valley. I’m keen for health checks to be carried out on the weirs as some are over 200 years old and it would have a huge impact on the landscape if they collapsed.”

Mr Farmer said while the site was globally recognised for its mills and buildings less attention had been given to landscape, which had been slowly deteriorating.

The scheme has been awarded £104,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund with plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

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