Around £1 million could be spent on transforming Cambridgeshire’s Ouse Washes into a distinctive tourist destination.
Littleport-based charity Cambridgeshire Acre has already received £90,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to put towards its Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership project and hopes the hand-out will unlock a further £995,600 of Lottery funding in the near future.
The programme aims to focus on a 48.5 km stretch of the Ouse Washes, stretching between Fen Drayton Lakes and Downham Market.
The main features include the Old and the New Bedford Rivers, and the area of wet grassland 32 km long between them, as well as the well-established Welney and Ouse Fen nature reserves, and
newer reserves such as Fen Drayton Lakes.
The conservation programme aims to turn the area into a tourist attraction and hub of activity, by encouraging local people to get involved in managing the area through volunteering and work placements.
Kirsten Bennett, of Cambridgeshire Acre, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.
“The Ouse Washes may not be ‘pretty’ in a picture-postcard sense but they have a unique charm of their own.
“Their cultural and built heritage needs to be celebrated and understood, both by those who live and work here and those who come to visit the area.
“This funding will allow us to work with local people to make this happen. As the rural community council for Cambridgeshire, we feel privileged to be leading the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership.”
Robyn Llewellyn, regional head for the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “This landscape is very much shaped by water flow – sometimes not enough and at the moment a little too much.
“With the Heritage Lottery Fund’s initial support, the scheme can start developing work to promote the area as a tourist destination while also
encouraging local communities to learn more about its history and how best to conserve and manage it for the future.”