Kent Wildlife Trust secures Heritage Lottery Fund support for Romney Marsh

Kent Wildlife Trust secures Heritage Lottery Fund support for Romney Marsh

The county’s leading conservation charity, Kent Wildlife Trust, based at Tyland Barn, Maidstone, has received an earmarked grant of £1,996,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) through its Landscape Partnership (LP) programme for the Romney Marsh ‘Fifth Continent’ Landscape Partnership Scheme, it was announced today.

The project’s primary aim is to facilitate the restoration and enhancement of the Marsh’s built, natural and cultural heritage.

Development funding of £230,300 has also been awarded to help Kent Wildlife Trust and partners including Shepway District Council, Natural England, Environment Agency and other groups from across the Marsh, progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

The Romney Marshes Living Landscape Partnership has come together to realise a vision of a living landscape for the Marsh with the potential to deliver major benefits to wildlife, inspire interest in local history, enhance sustainable tourism, support farmers and landowners, involve and engage local communities and create opportunities for training and employment.

The scheme proposes a five-year programme to raise awareness of the unique heritage of the Fifth Continent, focusing on this stunning and iconic landscape.

John Bennett, Chief Executive for Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given this support. The Trust and its partners now have a unique opportunity to unlock the exciting potential that the Romney Marsh landscape undoubtedly holds and put the ‘Fifth Continent’ firmly on the map!”

Explaining the importance of HLF’s support, Drew Bennellick, HLF Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage, said: “On the eve of The National Lottery’s 20th birthday, we’re delighted to be announcing our support for 'The Fifth Continent' - Romney Marsh Landscape Partnership. It’s also the perfect moment to thank Lottery players for helping make possible our Landscape Partnership programme.

"Ten years ago we developed Landscape Partnerships so that we could deliver conservation on a truly landscape scale. With so many habitats and species in decline and people becoming less and less connected to nature and the land, the programme was the first of its kind to allow conservationists to work at a cross-landscape scale. The programme has grown rapidly and is now leading the way in allowing many of our most treasured landscapes, as well as some of our most damaged, to be managed for the future in a sustainable way. 

“Engaging people as volunteers, training them as guides or helping them learn new skills has enabled local people to appreciate, value and speak up for the countryside. Our funding has led to new strategic partnerships between private, public, charitable and community bodies. It has also ensured that the UK’s most precious resource, our landscape, will be protected for future generations.”