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£1.6m grant for Mourne Mountains project beauty spot

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The HLF has also allocated 1.2 million pounds to increase access to the Belfast Hills

The HLF has also allocated 1.2 million pounds to increase access to the Belfast Hills

The HLF has also allocated 1.2 million pounds to increase access to the Belfast Hills

Over £1 million will be invested in protecting the Mourne Mountains, it has been announced.

Controlling scrubland, conserving Mourne walls and interpreting buildings in the beauty spot will be paid for by the £1.6 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant. The area is famous for scenic landscapes, drystone walls and dramatic mountains.

The HLF also allocated £1.2 million to increase access to the Belfast Hills.

Head of HLF Northern Ireland Paul Mullan said: "This is fantastic news for two of our outstanding landscapes. The Mourne AONB (Area of Natural Beauty) and the Belfast Hills are valuable heritage assets and today's announcement is an endorsement of these ambitious plans which can now be further developed to conserve and manage these landscapes and enable local communities to reconnect to, and benefit from, all aspects of their local heritage."

He said people would have an opportunity to learn traditional skills and take part in volunteering in the Mournes. There will be projects to restore scrubland and invasive species. They will also conserve and interpret buildings like the Watertown dwelling, water towers and the Mourne walls and smithies.

Management of land will be improved through greater cooperation between landowners.

Martin Carey, chief executive of the Mourne Heritage Trust, said: "This is an opportunity to make a step change in both conservation and appreciation of the unique heritage of which Mourne people are rightly proud - and of which we hope they will become prouder still.

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"As well as a landscape of striking beauty and an idyllic retreat, the uplands were for generations a hive of industry and in many ways are still a life support to the communities that surround them.

"We feel that the physical legacy of this still-evolving industrial heritage - and the stories that go with it - should be preserved for the future, while the natural features appreciated by people from near and far are also enhanced."


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