1. ITV Report

£1.89 million pounds for coastal wetlands

Wetlands on Solway Photo: ITV Border

An area of wetlands on the Solway has been granted *£1,893,200 by *The Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money will be spent on restoring and conserving different parts of the natural landscape including restoring wetland **areas and traditional North Cumberland hedges.

It will prevent continuing degradation to the area that has seen 1,000 years of exploitation and draining dating back 1,000 years to the time of Cistercian monks.**

Works will also improve access to the wetlands for visitors and those wishing to learn** more about the landscape.**

The scheme, led by the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty unit will be working in **partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency, RSPB, the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, West ***Cumbria Tourism, Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Trust and the Diocese of Carlisle.*

The project will cover the Solway Plain and the central portion of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding **Natural Beauty (AONB) - an area of 215 square miles.**

Project officer, Alex Sijpesteijn said that **the area of north-west Cumbria that will benefit was plentiful in historic, cultural and a*rchaeological features and included nationally rare habitats such as lowland raised mires and a *dense network of rivers, streams and ditches which together form a unique landscape important ***for migratory wildfowl, wading birds and other rare species of plants and animals. *

The scheme will focus on creating a patchwork of restored wetland sites that will link the main **areas and provide habitat corridors for wildlife. **

As part of this a new Solway Plains Cultural **Heritage Centre will be created at Holme Cultram Abbey, and a Solway Wetland Centre at RSPB ***North Plain.*

Other projects include reintroduction of the marsh fritillary butterfly into the area, a community fund for community led projects and archaeological research focussing on the Cistercian monks' legacy **in the project area. **