Thursday, 2 June 2011

Waterways Renaissance

Now in there ninth year, the Waterway Renaissance Awards for 2011 have been presented. My local patch were winners under the headings "Flood Risk Management" and "Recreation & Tourism" then as runner-up in the "Natural Environment" category and commended in the "Working in Partnership" category.

Over the last five years the Green Heart partnership has completed a number of schemes in the Dearne Valley to create new places for wildlife to live and for people to enjoy, to improve access and to raise awareness of the River Dearne and its washlands. The valley was once the heart of the extensive South Yorkshire coalfield but heavy industry left a legacy of polluted rivers and contaminated land.

Today the river Dearne is greatly improved and wildlife flourishes in its washlands. The valley has a growing reputation as a destination for leisure activities including walking, cycling, angling, canoeing. Under the project new wetland habitats have been created, a new cycleway has been built along with fish and eel passes. There are now also murals, artwork and guided cycle tours around the valley.
From This                       >                         Into This
People can also explore the valley’s  nature reserves, including the popular RSPB Old Moor, Broomhill flash, Wombwell Ings as well as the miles of cycleways including parts of the Trans Pennine Trail and the flourishing watersports centre at Manvers Lake.

Pete Wall from the RSPB, a friend from my days working as a conservation volunteer at Old Moor  said: "Just a few decades ago the Dearne Valley was a very different place. We’d like to acknowledge the great work done over the years by a wide range of people and organisations to clean-up the river and derelict industrial sites.

This partnership working exemplifies our landscape-scale approach to conservation; our contribution to the Dearne Valley Greenheart project forms part our Futurescapes programme, a UK-wide initiative, which aims to provide wildlife-rich spaces beyond nature reserves and now the Dearne Valley is a fantastic place for people and wildlife."

The Waterways Renaissance Awards are organised by the Waterways Trust to recognise exceptional projects which have turned inland waterways in to desirable places for living, learning and leisure.

So lets hear it for the "Dearne Valley Green Heart, South Yorkshire."

Hip, hip - hooray.


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