It was announced today (Wednesday 29 June) that Derbyshire Dales District Council has been awarded £1,009,000 for the exciting partnership project.
Woodland and pathways will be restored surrounding Hurst Farm - the Derbyshire Dales' largest housing estate - enhancing biodiversity and improving access to nature and green space.
The work will include opening up the view again from an historic Matlock landmark - the Wishing Stone. A Lumsdale Valley Viewpoint will be created nearby.
The project will improve biodiversity via prudent thinning of non-native and diseased trees and re-planting 800 new native trees. Around 3,000 aquatic and wildflower plugs will also be planted to help create a habitat for reptiles.
District Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy said:
"Our thanks go to National Lottery players for making this grant possible. The work our officers and partners continue to do to attract substantial external funding for this brilliant project is nothing short of astonishing.
"What's more, as with the Farmer's View venue, we will be creating a resource for all of Matlock, connecting the communities of Hurst Farm, Asker Lane, Lumsdale and Tansley. All these communities are connected by their use and care for the woodland surrounding Hurst Farm and Lumsdale Valley.
"It will make local heritage and natural heritage accessible and better known within these communities, but also means the natural heritage and the old stone footpaths will be better maintained and protected, safeguarding them for the future."The Heritage Trail will be created using £500,000 from the Heritage Fund as a capital grant, with the remainder of the money financing revenue funding towards a three-year activity programme to be delivered jointly by the District Council and Hurst Farm Green Estate.
They will recruit and manage a Ranger post and two apprentices, also funded by the Heritage Fund, who will run activities with volunteers, including drystone walling, woodland management and wildlife habitat restoration.
Students at Highfields School will have the opportunity to participate in the John Muir Award, which will be delivered by the Ranger, and other activities to connect them to the woodland and the locality, building confidence and skills.
This is another big win for the Hurst Farm Regeneration Project, created in 2017 by Derbyshire Dales District Council and operated with partners including Derbyshire Dales Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), Platform Housing Group and the Friends of Hurst Farm.
Only last month the estate's new Farmer’s View community hub, pub and café opened following the £460,000 transformation of the former Hurst Farm Social Club, enabled largely through Government funding, following on from ongoing work to re-clad non-traditional homes on the estate to save energy bills and improvements to Spider Park.
Councillor Steve Flitter, District Council ward member speaking on behalf of all Matlock district councillors, said:
"This is really great news. The success of the Heritage Trail funding follows the regeneration of the Hurst Farm estate, bringing many benefits to local residents.National Lottery grants programmes have now reopened with a renewed focus on helping people, communities and places recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
"This is a tribute to officers of the Council and local people working together to encourage a better lifestyle for everyone.”
Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“For nearly two years the Heritage Fund focused its efforts and funding on helping the heritage sector survive during the pandemic – and it truly brought home just how valuable heritage is to so many.
“Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are the UK’s largest funder of heritage, so are in an excellent position to fund projects which put heritage at the heart of driving change and recovery for nature, communities and culture.
“There is no doubt that the sector still faces challenging times but announcing our support today for these six incredible projects provides a glimmer of optimism as we look to a future of vibrant and resilient heritage for all.”
Derbyshire Dales CVS Chief Executive Neil Moulden said:
"Gaining this funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund is the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication by those involved in preparing the application.Starting point for the Heritage Trail will be the Farmer's View car park, which will feature a sculptural welcome feature and an accessible path to the neglected Wishing Stone, where a carefully considered design will ensure the special local character of the woodland is protected and enhanced. Timber seating will be installed, together with new stone steps up to the higher level.
“It is a huge boost for the Estate Regeneration Project on Hurst Farm, and will make a real difference to the community. It has been a real partnership effort, and I think everyone involved should feel very proud of securing this funding."
A nearby Lumsdale Valley Viewpoint will be designed to enable less able bodied local residents to enjoy access to nature and the heritage. The trail will also link in with the Lumsdale Industrial Heritage Site.
Chris Holmes, Friends of Hurst Farm director, said:
"Following on from the major update to the social club, now renamed Farmer's View, as a vibrant focal point of the estate, this new funding for a Heritage Trail is fantastic news. On behalf of the committee, directors and the Hurst Farm community we would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this hugely generous donation."