An ambitious scheme to restore local natural heritage and improve access to the stunning landscape surrounding Bath has secured £1.65 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Bathscape Landscape Partnership, made up of conservation organisations, community groups, businesses, universities and the Council, will oversee a five-year investment programme working with local people to restore the stunning natural heritage and encourage its enjoyment.
Not only will the heritage benefit, a greater number and wider range of people will be encouraged to actively enjoy and learn about the landscape, with a particular focus on communities of need.
Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the partnership will bring 25 projects to life which will restore the landscape, enhance access, revitalise its use to improve health, and provide a wide range of training and skills opportunities.
Projects in the scheme include
• Improving the condition and management of important woodlands, grasslands and historic landscape features
• Providing training, opportunities and resources for local people to get involved in the study and enhancement of the local landscape
• A five–year programme of walks and other public events in the landscape including the annual Bathscape Walking Festival and healthy walking groups linked to GP surgeries
• A waymarked ‘round Bath’ promoted walking network
• Working with schools and education providers to encourage outdoor learning and develop skills
The Bathscape area stretches from Charmy Down to the north of the city to Combe Hay in the south, and from Kingsdown to the east to Corston in the west.
The projects were developed through 18 months of consultation with residents, landowners and organisations, and partnership will continue to be at the heart of their delivery. Match–funding together with donations from partners and volunteers in the form of time and materials will increase the total to £2.2 million invested in the landscape.
Andrew Grant, Bathscape Partnership Chair said; “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The Bathscape is internationally recognised for its role as the green setting of the City of Bath World Heritage Site but it is also a great resource for residents.
“Along with more than 100,000 people, the area is home to a huge variety of wildlife, features of historic, geological and archaeological interest and abounds with cultural history. Over the next five years we will be encouraging people to join us in helping to protect and enjoy our stunning local landscape.”
Councillor Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods. added: “This is a significant investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund which recognises the importance of our landscape as well as the way we have worked as a partnership to secure such a significant amount of money. Over the next five years 25 projects will happen, each one enhancing and protecting the wonderful landscape surrounding Bath.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of HLF, said: “Our historic landscapes are incredibly important to people’s wellbeing and need to be protected. Bath is often portrayed as the wealthy and genteel city beloved of Jane Austen fans, but it is also a place of contrasts with a gulf in access to green spaces that National Lottery funding can help address. Bathscape will inspire a greater number of people to explore and get involved with the important natural environment on their doorstep, with all the benefits to health and wellbeing that brings.”
The Bathscape Partnership was established to realise opportunities to enhance the heritage, landscape and wildlife value of the setting of the City, and to improve access and understanding to this setting.
Its vision is to ensure Bath and its setting are better recognised, managed and experienced as a landscape city, with the surrounding hills and valleys enhancing the World Heritage Site and actively enjoyed by all. A greater number and wider range of people will feel connected to their local landscape and inspired to explore the outstanding built and natural environments, improving health and wellbeing.
A Landscape Partnership development grant of £176,800 was awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund in November 2016 to enable the Bathscape Partnership to develop its plans and seek final approval for the full five-year grant
The Bathscape Landscape Partnership is led by Bath & NE Somerset Council with partners, National Trust, Bath Preservation Trust, University of Bath, Bath Spa University, Curo, Wessex Water, Visit Bath, Avon Wildlife Trust, Cotswolds Conservation Board, Federation of Bath Residents Associations and The Woodland Trust. The Partnership is supported by other bodies and organisations including Natural England, Historic England, Wiltshire Council, Joint Local Access Forum, Bath Natural History Society, Bath & Counties Archaeological Society and Bath City Farm. Chair Andrew Grant is Director at landscape architects Grant Associates.
Like to add an email received from Paul Jackson. Paul says:
“Historically, Bath has had terrific views, many of which are now obscured by trees. To see what we’re missing, take a look at landscapes on painting from a century or two ago.
I would urge the organisers to include selective felling to enable the more important of these lost views to be restored.
(Richmond Park in Surrey deliberately keeps a wedge between its trees to enable a view of the Tower of London from near the White Lodge there. The reason? Because rumour has it that that’s where Henry VIII waited for the signal to say that Ann Boleyn had been beheaded.
Bath cannot match that, but in the last few years, shrubs and trees have been cut back to enable Sham Castle to be seen from the city centre. But Camden Crescent is now virtually obscured by trees in Hedgemead Park.
Some are beginning to obscure Prior Park (especially from Church Street in Widcombe) and ditto for the view of the city from North Road. And so on.”