Penwith Landscape Partnership has secured a grant of £2,529,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the First and Last – Our Living Working Landscape scheme.

The partnership now has a significant opportunity to conserve, protect and enhance Penwith’s ancient farming landscape and field systems, its archaeology and natural environment for future generations.

The Landscape Partnership is made up of a number of enthusiastic and experienced local people together with representatives from a number of organisations, such as the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership, CASPN and Farm Cornwall. It is chaired by Cllr Jim McKenna.

The funding will be available from January for five years and one of the first tasks will be to recruit several project officers who will work together as a team from a base in Penwith.

Projects will include: surveying and improving knowledge of the archaeology and ancient sites in Penwith, improving access to the landscape through footpaths, bridleways and cycle routes, as well as creating links to public transport, helping parishes to survey and care for the heritage and wildlife within their areas and improving the landscape for wildlife by working with farmers and landowners to promote good soil, nutrient and habitat management.

Other projects will include recording the value of Cornish hedges and “upskilling” volunteers to repair and rebuild hedges and reinstate gateposts, researching historic place-names to discover what they can tell us about the landscape and the history of the area, encouraging everyone to explore the landscape through the arts, helping farmers and landowners find economic uses for redundant farm buildings and also manage rough ground through controlled burns, scrub cutting and clearing by hand and supporting the growth of efficient, resilient family-farm businesses through setting up monitor farms and discussion groups.

The partnership will be actively seeking the involvement of local people, as well as visitors to Penwith, through a wide range of volunteering opportunities. Support and encouragement to learn new skills through training and practical experience will be offered.

Cornwall Council has provided an additional grant as match funding. Jim McKenna said: "Penwith is a special place with a unique landscape. The area has long needed a more integrated, joined-up approach to supporting its fragile rural economy and long-standing farming communities.

"The Landscape Partnership has spent several years working collaboratively with many individuals, interest groups and organisations to develop the proposals which have now been endorsed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As chair, it has been a privilege to work with so many dedicated and committed people, a number of whom have contributed their time and expertise voluntarily and this funding award reflects their collective efforts.”

Delivery of this partnership scheme will be led by Cornwall Wildlife Trust. Trustee Nick Tregenza, said: “We are delighted to have landed this funding for Penwith, and to be able to work in cooperation with so many partners at a time when traditional farming in Penwith is facing unprecedented difficulties.”