The iconic landscape of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site is set to be restored and safeguarded – thanks to a £2.5million project.
Heritage chiefs are celebrating this week after the major scheme was given the go-ahead.
The project, to be led by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Derbyshire County Council, will provide grants to improve the landscape – where the factory system began at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
It will also restore wildlife habitats, involve volunteers, protect features such as dry stone walls and ancient trees, offer education and arts activities and a chance to train in a variety of traditional skills.
Plans include improving area’s of Matlock Bath and Cromford including the ‘lost’ landscape of Willersley Castle.
Adrian Farmer, heritage co-ordinator for the World Heritage Site, said: “We want to get across to people that the World Heritage Site is not just about mills and buildings, it is the whole landscape that is important.
“It is one of the most important historic sites in the world but also an incredibly beautiful environment.”
The project has been awarded £104,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund with plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.
Emma Sayer, head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “As the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, the Derwent Valley is recognised throughout the world as one of our most important heritage treasures.”
The project is set to take around five years.