Wildlife trust receives £2.6 million grant for River Skerne project

The Durham Wildlife Trust has been awarded a £2.6 million grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund for a new project designed to celebrate the rich history of the River Skerne.

Made possibly by players of the National Lottery, the funding for the Bright Water Landscape Partnership is a part of a package that brings the total budget to £3.2 million.

The funds will be used to preserve and enhance riverside habitats and historic sites across the catchment of the River Skerne.

The area covered by the Bright Water Landscape Partnership extends over 200km2 of lowland County Durham and Darlington, focusing on the River Skerne from Hurworth Burn reservoir in East Durham to South Park in Darlington.

The landscape was formerly dominated by wetlands, many of which have been lost over the past 200 years.

The project will conserve remaining natural habitats and protect important industrial and agricultural sites, as well as providing educational opportunities for the public.

Jim Cokill, director of the Durham Wildlife Trust, said: “This is the largest project the trust has ever secured funding for and we are delighted that it can now go ahead.

“The River Skerne catchment is already an important area for wildlife and historic sites, but there is enormous potential to further restore and reveal that heritage.”

Councillor Nick Wallis, Cabinet member for leisure and the local environment at Darlington Borough Council, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the River Skerne as a key economic and cultural asset of Darlington and we look forward to working with our partners on this special project.”

You can find out more about the Bright Water Landscape Partnership on the Discover Bright Water website.

Source: Durham Wildlife Trust

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