Elan Valley Secures Heritage Lottery Fund Support

5 years 6 months ago

Elan Valley secures £1.7 million Heritage Lottery Fund support for a 6 year programme of investment worth over £3 million.

Elan Valley Trust has been awarded £1.7 million for the Elan Links project, a project developed by a group of hard working partners, that also includes Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Community Arts Rhayader & District and Tir Coed to name but a few. The project has been funded by the Heritage Lottery (HLF) Landscape Partnership Programme (LP) and will deliver a strategic programme of investment that will safeguard the unique and special heritage of the Elan Valley whilst increasing enjoyment, education, training, and recreational opportunities for the benefit of all.

Development funding of £85,000 has also been awarded by the HLF for the first year in order to enable the Elan Links Partnership Board to refine their project plans and engage further with the community before drawing down the delivery grant of over a period of 5 years. 

Ed Parsons, Area Lands Manager for Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water said: ‘I’m really excited about this initiative and the benefits it will bring to the spectacular Elan Estate. This project is a great example of the power of working in partnership and will enable us to continue to exceed our visitors' expectations’.

The partnership will deliver a programme of projects under two themes:

‘Securing and Safeguarding Elan’s Heritage’ will tackle the threats and challenges to Elan’s heritage through maintenance and restoration of key heritage sites, management of important habitats, species and landscapes while securing our cultural heritage including our traditional farming systems. Projects being developed under this theme will ensure that 18,000 plus hectares of the Estate’s semi-natural habitat is more resilient and specific action is taken to protect at least 10 priority species including rare upland breeding birds such as the Golden Plover. Work will be undertaken to conserve 20 at-risk built and ancient heritage sites across the Estate as well as ensuring improved access and interpretation and renovation for new uses of 3 at-risk historic buildings: The Resident Engineers House, Dam Builders Hut and Cwm Clyd Farmstead.

The second theme, ‘Elan for People’ will deliver improved opportunities and learning for new and existing audiences; and better health and wellbeing from improved access and recreation facilities. This will deliver significantly better social outcomes through an innovative programme of training, skills and confidence-building in the natural environment and will explore issues associated with sustainable lifestyles using Elan as a model. Projects currently being developed under this theme include new innovative and engaging interpretation facilities, an improved range and quality of recreational facilities and training courses and activity days run in the Elan Valley by Tir Coed. These courses and activity days will particularly target people, both locally and ‘along the water pipeline’ who research has shown can derive real benefits from time spent in natural environments such as the Elan Valley but who may have previously been discouraged from being outdoors for a variety of reasons. 

Dr Ieuan Joyce, Chair of the Elan Valley Trust said “This award recognises the importance of the landscape of the Elan Valley to local people, to our many visitors and to the people who drink the clean, pure water produced here.” “The Elan Valley is home to an internationally significant feat of Victorian civil engineering and the wild nature-rich landscape has been created over centuries by extensive farming systems. Local farmers still use these systems today.” “I am pleased that the Elan Valley Trust will match the HLF award with an additional £0.8m because we see the benefits that a large and co-ordinated investment will have for the future. The Trust is passionate about the fantastic natural, built and cultural heritage of the Elan Valley. The opportunity we now have is to work with HLF, local people and all who care about Elan to secure this heritage for the future and to build on the benefits people get from Elan over the long term”

Liz Pugh, from CARAD said “we at CARAD are really delighted by the news of this investment programme in our local area. The programme will help to support local jobs and provide fantastic opportunities for local people to get more involved in the fantastic natural environment on our doorstep.”

Richard Bellamy, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Wales, said: “Stunning landscapes like the Elan Valley define the very character of Wales and are as much a part of who we are as our castles, language and rugby. They are as much loved by the people who call Wales home as by tens of thousands of tourists who visit them. What is particularly interesting with the Elan Links project is that it celebrates connections between communities through its water story and in doing so will provide fantastic training and learning opportunities for a wide range of people – it will be a great project to get involved with.