National Lottery Heritage Funded Projects – Tame Valley Wetlands

The Tame Valley Wetlands (Landscape Partnership) Scheme is a large, landscape-scale scheme with local people, waterways, heritage and wildlife at its heart.

Thanks to generous funding from the National Lottery through the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and organisations on the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership, the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (TVWLPS) was delivered between 2014 and 2018.

The scheme covers an area of 104 km² (10,350 hectares to be precise!) in the Tame Valley, following the River Tame between Birmingham and Tamworth, in North Warwickshire and south-east Staffordshire.

With funding from partners and NLHF, detailed development and consultation work was carried out to fine tune the scheme. This culminated in a second round application to NLHF in December 2013, which included the production of a Landscape Conservation Action Plan – a detailed plan for the scheme and the Partnership’s ‘mandate for the landscape’.

In 2014, the Partnership was awarded £1.7 million by NLHF to deliver a £2.5 million scheme (with full funding later secured).

Our Vision:

To create a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all. This will be achieved by taking a landscape-scale approach to restoring, conserving and reconnecting the physical and cultural landscape of the Tame Valley. By re-engaging local communities with the landscape and its rich heritage, a sense of ownership, understanding and pride will be nurtured to ensure a lasting legacy of restoration and conservation.

To achieve this vision, four aims were identified, which reflect the four themes of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Landscape Partnership funding stream, as well as the overarching aims of the Partnership.

Our four principal aims:

  1. Conserve, enhance and restore built and natural heritage features in order to improve the fragmented and degraded landscape of the Tame Valley. Emphasis will be given to linear features such as the River Tame and its floodplain, the canal corridor and historic hedgerows.
  2. Reconnect the local community with the Tame Valley landscape and its heritage by engaging and involving people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities with their local green spaces, sites of heritage interest and the conservation and restoration of these places. Emphasis will be given to engaging hard-to-reach groups, community-led initiatives and delivering events and activities.
  3. Improve access and learning for local people – both physical access on and between sites and intellectual access on and off site through a range of resources. This includes development of the ‘Tame Way’, themed trails, and a Gateway to the Tame Valley interpretation centre and website.
  4. Provide training opportunities for local people by offering taster sessions, short courses, award schemes and certificates in a range of heritage and conservation topics, in order to increase the skill and knowledge levels within the local population and provide a lasting legacy.

Key outputs

In order to meet these four aims, we set a variety of SMART objectives. Meeting these aims and objectives ensured that the scheme reached its targets and produced the following 10 key outputs:

  1. 2 historic Grade II listed structures restored.
  2. 50 hectares of wetland habitat created / enhanced.
  3. 5 Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) / endangered species protected.
  4. 1,000 metres of historic hedgerows restored or re-planted.
  5. 1,000 metres of river or canal bank re-naturalised.
  6. 3 local groups established / supported, plus a series of working groups set up.
  7. 1,000 school children, 500 members of the public and 200 young people engaged and inspired.
  8. Promotion of the Tame Way long distance footpath and creation of 5 new circular walks, a phone app and a new interactive website.
  9. Delivery of 150 taster days and events and activities where 1,000 people will learn about their local heritage.
  10. 65 local people formally trained, gaining accreditation through OCN and City & Guilds qualifications (plus one, two-year apprentice position).

The National Lottery Heritage Fund scheme will deliver 35 projects under four programmes, all working towards the four aims / themes of the scheme.

Although each of these projects have been allocated under a particular programme, each project will have multiple outcomes, spanning across various scheme themes. We have also developed a number of reserve projects that will be delivered if current projects become unachievable or if we secure additional funding.

The projects have been developed in close collaboration with partners and the local community.

Click on the titles below to see a brief overview of some of the projects that we’ll be delivering:

Programme A – Creating and restoring built and natural heritage +

There will be nine projects under Programme A – two projects focussing on restoring built heritage structures along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (A1 and A2), three focussing on re-naturalising sections of the canalised River Tame (A3, A5, A9) and four focussing on wetland habitat creation and restoration on the floodplain (A4, A6, A7, A8).

These projects will help to restore the landscape and re-connect the river with its floodplain, helping to reduce flood risk, improve water quality and increase biodiversity. There are also a number of reserve projects, which we will undertake should we bring in enough additional funding.

Project updates ▸

Programme B – Increasing community participation +

There will be nine projects under Programme B, loosely divided into six overarching themes: heritage-focussed events (B1), cultural heritage (B2), practical conservation (B3, B4 and B9), community group support (B5 and B6), youth engagement (B7) and schools engagement (B8). Community engagement and participation in the scheme will be key to its success; we need to inspire and enthuse local people in order to protect and conserve the wildlife and heritage of the landscape for future generations.

We will also be looking at Cultural Heritage, and one way in which we hope to capture the memories and stories of people within the Tame Valley is through online resources such as HistoryPinClick here to learn more!

Project updates ▸

Programme C – Improving access and learning +

There will be twelve projects under Programme C, divided into three areas. As for each of the scheme themes, we will set up working groups to help guide the implementation of all projects. We will support the access working group so that it becomes an independent group (C1), which we hope will continue to look after the area’s access routes long after the scheme has been completed.

We will look to improve physical access in the Tame Valley by improving, promoting and linking up sites of heritage interest, existing rights of way and permissive paths in order to create circular, themed walks and a long distance ‘Tame Way’ footpath (C2, C4, C5).

We will also improve intellectual access, signage and interpretation, both on-site and online, to create a brand for the scheme and an identity for the landscape. These projects will encourage informal learning and exploration of the landscape (C3, C6, C7, C8, C9, C10, C11, C12).

Project updates ▸

Programme D – Providing training and skills +

There will be seven projects under Programme D, linking closely with all other scheme projects. We will deliver a wide range of taster sessions and events (D1) accessible to a wide range of audiences. We will also carry out informal training in heritage (D4) for landowners and local people, particularly focussed on cultural heritage and research. We will also carry out more in-depth research studies and mapping with local colleges and universities looking into the impacts of the work we carry out, particularly under Programme A (D2 and D5).

There will also be a comprehensive capacity building project (D3) to help train local volunteers and Partnership staff, and encourage knowledge and best-practice sharing. This will be an important project in terms of legacy – equipping local people, groups and organisations with the skills they need to continue work after the scheme has finished. Along a similar line, the scheme aims to provide more formal, accredited training (D6 and D7) for local people wishing to gain new skills. These opportunities will be particularly valuable for local people not currently in education, employment or training, or for people looking for a change of career into the heritage or environmental sector.

Project updates ▸

You can find out more about the landscape and the scheme by downloading the following (low-res) sections of the main scheme document – the Landscape Conservation Action Plan (LCAP):

Find out how our projects are progressing – take a look through some of our completed projects: