The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership has been successful in our bid for £1.66 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This has been awarded to help preserve the character of the Greensand Country landscape in and around Bedfordshire. In addition to this there has been an incredible commitment from partners, local authorities and other donors in the area, which has meant that we have been able to gather a further £1.4 million as match funding, which means we are able to make an investment of £3.1 million in the area.
This will support an array of exciting projects which will help us raise awareness of the hidden heritage of the Greensand Country and to reverse the gradual decline in the distinct character of this beautiful and loved landscape.
We are working with partner organisations to improve existing sites, and to improve public access to the Greensand Country by a network of new trails and self-guided walks.
The partners in the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership will be delivering many of these projects, but there are opportunities for communities, parish councils, specialist organisations, landowners, farmers and many others to gain funding to run projects too. If you are interested keep reading and you will find out more.
Lowland Heaths and Grasslands.
The geology of the Greensand Country is sandstone. The soils on sand do not hold many nutrients and are acidic. Very distinct habitats like these conditions.
The natural habitats of the Greensand Country are Lowland Heath and acidic grassland on the sand and neutral grassland where glacial deposits have been left by the last Ice Age.
What is the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership going to do? There are three wonderful pieces of lowland heath left on the Greensand Country at Rushmere, Coopers Hill and RSPB Sandy. We are putting funding into improving these pieces of heathland and a really valuable piece of acidic grassland and wet woodland at Flitwick Moor. We are then going to provide funding for farmers and landowners to create islands and corridors of lowland heath and acidic grassland between these sites. This means plants and animals will be able to move more freely within habitats and between habitats and therefore we will be able to create stronger ecological networks and habitats will be more robust with respect to climate change and visitor impact.
We have 50% of Bedfordshire’s woodlands in the Greensand Country, but most of them are undermanaged.
What is the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership going to do? We are going to train landowners, managers and communities on how to bring their woodlands into positive management and then provide funding in a grant scheme to bring the woodlands into positive management.
When Henry VIII gave away most of the monastery land to those in his favour, the landowners worked with Capability Brown, Repton and their contemporaries to create the designed landscapes of historic parkland that we see today. Historic parklands are often complex having developed over many centuries and been shaped by the political, cultural/fashions and physical environment of the time. They make an important contribution to present day landscape character and support rich ecological habitats as well as provide access and recreation opportunities. Greensand Country has more historical parklands than any other area in Britain. It defines the ‘Spirit’ of our place.
What is the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership going to do? Work with Parkland owners and communities to bring the parklands into positive management, maintaining the character of our special landscape.
Create two Historic Parkland walks to engage people in the fascinating stories of these special places.
The sandstone under our feet influences the building style in the Greensand Country. Houses, churches, walls, wells and lych gates are all made of Greensand. These are particularly abundant around the historic local quarries in Potton, Clophill and the Brickhills. Today due to poor management and repairs, salt damage, and vegetation growth many of these built sandstone structures are in poor condition.
What is the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership going to do? We are going to create three geology trails so people understand the stone under their feet and the effect it has on the landscape. We have done a Sandstone Structure audit so we know where the sandstone structures are. There are 505 structures in the Greensand Country. We know what condition they are in and what needs to be done to bring them into positive management and what skills are needed. We are going to provide funding for restoring sandstone structures. We are going to train builders and owners and give them the skills to look after these structures.
We are going to provide a fund so that communities can find out more about their historical heritage and manage it.
We are going to improve public access to the Greensand Country by a network of new trails and self-guided walks.
We are going to give professionals and volunteers the skills to look after the natural and built environment. We are going to train young people not in education, employment or training and apprentices with the professional skills needed to look after the environment for the long term.
We also have a grant scheme for landowners, heritage groups, village or parish councils and other organisation to access funding that will help them create new habitats, restore sandstone walls and structures or carry out community heritage projects.
You can see details of some of our existing projects on this website via the links above. If you would like to get involved in any of the projects, or would like to start your own project in Greensand Country then contact us firstname.lastname@example.org