Habitats and cultural heritage go hand in hand

Aqueduct cottage, Annice Fuller

DerwentWISE is our largest project

In September 2013 The National Lottery Heritage Fund (formally known as Heritage Lottery Fund HLF) gave the go ahead, and a huge,  £1.767 million for the Lower Derwent Valley Landscape Partnership – DerwentWISE. 

This £2.5 million five year project aims to inspire people to learn about and take care of the landscape of the Lower Derwent Valley. The Lower Derwent Valley contains some fascinating features from both a landscape and heritage perspective. Ancient woodlands, pre-industrial archaeology and an industrial World Heritage Site all rub shoulders to create a wonderfully diverse area.

DerwentWISE is helping to preserve some of these important habitats and get communities and landowners more involved with their local landscape.

Discover our DerwentWISE projects

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River Derwent at night

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Derwent Valley events

Wildlife Guardians, DerwentWISE project

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The project framework

The framework of the DerwentWISE Landscape Partnership Scheme is formed on the Lower Derwent Valley Landscape Conservation Action Plan. (LCAP).  This is an all embracing document which analyses the landscape, assesses the problems and makes a case for investing in an area which we all know as very special indeed.

Who is involved?

The Partnership is led by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and includes Natural England; Derbyshire County Council; Historic England; National Stone Centre; Fleet Arts; Arkwright Society; Environment Agency; Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site; Derbyshire Dales District Council; Forestry Commission; Derby City Council; Amber Valley CVS; University of Derby and Amber Valley Borough Council; supported by the National Farmers Union.

What are the project aims?

While the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site is globally recognised, little recognition has been given to the value of the wider landscape, such as its internationally important ancient woodlands, pre-industrial archaeology, diverse geology or species-rich meadows. From a landscape perspective this area is almost a microcosm of the Derbyshire landscape, extending from the limestone plateau in the north, through ash woodland on the steep limestone slopes and then opening out into settled farmland and riverside meadows in the south. It also includes one of the largest concentrations of ancient woodland in England.

DerwentWISE will involve the public, particularly local communities and landowners in improving and maintaining this landscape.

The Landscape Partnership aims to safeguard and restore this unique landscape by:

  • Restoring, linking and extending habitats and geological sites.
  • Ensuring that the character of the wider landscape, which includes walls, hedgerows and ancient trees, is protected and enhanced.
  • Improving access to and better interpretation of heritage sites and features.
  • Promoting public engagement by ensuring that communities feel proud of their landscape and ensure they are equipped to be involved with its long-term care.

The project will achieve these aims by:

  • Identifying and engaging with owners of priority sites and features, providing advice, training and access to funding.
  • Carrying out a 'Heritage at Risk' audit of both built heritage features, in order to make recommendations for their conservation, and the skills of volunteers, to make any necessary improvements.
  • Delivering a programme of community engagement and arts activities to increase public involvement, understanding of the landscape and to increase access to information about the valley.
  • Delivering a programme of education activities with schools, twinning urban and rural areas.
  • Developing a 'Forest Schools' programme.
  • Providing heritage skills training based at Derbyshire's new Eco Centre.

What area does the project cover?

Take a peek at what we do

Wild flower meadow creation

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Volunteer with DerwentWISE

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Visit the project website

A shared site with Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site 

Read all about it

Places to visit in the Derwent Valley

Come and explore

DerwentWISE is a landscape scale partnership project managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. 

With thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for making the project possible. 

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