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Lottery jackpot for Stour Valley conservation

Wednesday, 24th March 2010.

The Stour Valley which stretches from the Haverhill area to the sea and includes the Constable country around Dedham has received a grant of almost £1million towards conservation.

The Heritage Lottery Fund is giving the cash towards Managing A Masterpiece, a three year scheme to conserve, celebrate and improve understanding of the Stour Valley, including the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The scheme will enhance many features that so inspired artists such as John Constable, Sir Alfred Munnings and Thomas Gainsborough and that many residents and visitors enjoy today.

It is the first Landscape Partnership awarded in the East of England, and will include 62 individual projects covering wildlife, landscape, archaeology, art, recreation, conservation of built and natural features and transport.

Some of the highlights include re-introduction of the Dedham Vale hopper bus, public archaeological projects, the restoration of a Stour lighter (a barge), tree and hedgerow planting, exhibitions, 360 degree panoramic photographs from church towers, walking and cycling guides and much much more.

In addition to the Heritage Lottery Fund funding for the scheme has been awarded from seven local authorities, Natural England and English Heritage.

James Halsall, chairman of the Managing A Masterpiece partnership board said: “Managing a Masterpiece will make a real difference about how visitors and residents understand and interact with the area and the exciting range of projects will make a real difference to this special area.”

County councillors from Essex and Suffolk have welcomed the scheme, saying it will bring real improvements to the quality of life of communities in the Stour Valley.

The scheme will focus its activity on five heritage hotspots in the Stour Valley based around the parishes of: Dedham, Stoke by Nayland, Bures, Sudbury and Clare that cover around 170 square kilometres.

It will create three new jobs to deliver the scheme, but rely on community involvement and volunteering for many of its activities.

Haverhill Online News

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