Greensand Country Landscape Partnership

BRCC is the accountable body for the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership, a new Partnership being established with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Greensand Country comprises the Greensand Ridge (a 35 mile-long narrow wooded sandstone ridge to the south of Bedford), and the Flit Valley.

We are thrilled to have gained funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver a Landscape Partnership programme and an array of exciting projects which will help us raise awareness of the heritage value of the Greensand Country and to reverse the gradual decline in the distinct landscape character of this beautiful and loved place.

The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded us this funding in January 2017.  The programme will run until June 2021.

‘Greensand Country’ is an island of distinctive, beautiful and loved countryside, based on a band of higher ground stretching from Leighton Buzzard to Gamlingay, rising out of the surrounding clay vales. It contains all of Bedfordshire’s remaining heathland, more than half of its woodland, and more surviving historic parkland than any other landscape in the country, often surrounding notable manor houses. This landscape character is a legacy of its underlying Greensand geology, which led to much of it being regarded as ‘marginal land’ not suitable for agriculture, as well as its management over centuries by major estates.

However, the area’s distinctiveness has been weakening over decades due to modern development and the changing economics of land use. Key habitats are becoming fragmented and unsustainable in the longer term; views both of and from the area are being lost or impaired; houses are being built of the wrong vernacular; and traditional heritage skills are dying out. Just as significantly, there is a low level of awareness locally of the significance of the area’s landscape value and heritage.

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership has been formed by a range of partners in the area to work with landowners and local communities to take a joined up approach to meeting the challenges in the area. Our vision is for the Greensand Country to be a living and working landscape that is cherished by present and future generations. By 2021 we will have reversed the gradual decline in the area’s landscape character, and created a strong, community led partnership and strategic framework to promote the area’s interests and secure the necessary long-term financial and community investment to sustain the area’s distinctive natural and built heritage.

The vision

The vision is that by 2020 the Greensand Ridge will become a living and working landscape that is cherished by present and future generations and we will have reversed the gradual decline in the area’s landscape character. We are working towards creating a strong community led partnership and strategic framework to promote the area’s interests and to secure the necessary investment to sustain the area’s distinctive local charm, natural character and built heritage.

Our aims are:

Our vision is for the Greensand Country to be a living and working landscape that is cherished by present and future generations.  By 2021 we will have reversed the gradual decline in the area’s landscape character, and created a strong, community led partnership and strategic framework to promote the area’s interests and secure the necessary long-term financial and community investment to sustain the area’s distinctive natural and built heritage.

The Projects:

The Greensand Country Landscape Partnership scheme consists of over 40 projects across the following inter-related strands:

‘Living Heaths’
Strengthening the habitats we already have by carrying out significant restoration projects and improving management infrastructure; and funding small landowners across the area to restore small pieces of heathland, acidic and neutral grassland and provide stepping stones and corridors between habitats.

‘Working Woodlands’
We will give landowners the skills and funding to bring woodlands into positive management.

‘Historic Parklands’
Taking a landscape scale approach to the restoration of our historic parks, we will encourage positive management through management plans and third party grants to restore and enhance features, while creating new trails to connect parklands and engage the community.

‘Celebrating the Greensand Country’
Engaging more people in the landscape through a range of creative activities such as storytelling, drama and photography, as well as a schools programme and talks and debates about the landscape and its future, culminating in an annual Greensand Festival.

‘Revealing the Greensand Country’
Extending, enhancing and promoting the extensive rights of way network for the benefit of walkers, cyclists and horse riders in and around the area to help engage them in the natural and cultural heritage of the landscape and to bring in economic growth.

‘Heritage Skills’
Investing in skills for the landscape through a study programme and apprenticeship scheme provided for school leavers and those not in education, employment and training; and training for the existing paid and volunteer workforce.

‘Promoting and understanding the Greensand Country’
Raising the profile and recognition of the area through a range of promotional, marketing and communications and interpretation initiatives.

Community Projects
Providing grants, skills and practical support to local communities to help them explore, conserve, celebrate and maintain their local landscape heritage.
The programme will have a significant impact on landscape character, heritage and biodiversity, but will also benefit thousands of local people as audiences, participants, volunteers and trainees. It will leave a legacy of improved conservation and land management, partnership working, skills, volunteers, engaged and aware communities, economic growth and enhanced tourism profile.

The scheme will be managed by a staff team of four based at BRCC, and governed by a Landscape Partnership Board including representatives from partner organisations, local landowners, the business community, the statutory authorities and the voluntary sector.
Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity and the Greensand Trust are co-hosting the Landscape Partnership, with BRCC being the accountable body.

If you would like more details please contact Claire Poulton, Landscape Partnership Programme Manager at clairep@bedsrcc.org.uk

Download our Landscape Conservation Plan

Download 1: LCAP-Executive Summary and Action Plans (PDF 9MB)

In due course we will be developing our own Greensand Country Landscape Partnership web site. Please keep your eyes out for all our exciting projects and how you can get involved.

Job Vacancies

We are now seeking to fill three new roles.

Communications and Engagement Officer
Conservation and Project Officer
Programme Support Officer

Click here to learn more

 

Contact us

  • Main Office.
    The Old School
    Cardington
    Bedford
    MK44 3SX

    (01234) 838771
  • Email.
    info@bedsrcc.org.uk
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