THE ancient woodland of Sherwood Forest could be restored after a bid for Heritage Lottery funding was successful.
Nottinghamshire County Council asked for £3 million to boost the natural and cultural heritage of the home of Robin Hood.
The council has been given a £119,000 grant to develop the ideas which will specifically focus on ancient woodlands, heathlands, and cultural heritage with a further bid for the millions to come after this.
John Knight, Chairman of the Culture Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said he was “overjoyed” and the success reflected the hard work on the bid.
He said: “We recognise that this is only the first step in our aspirations to make more of Sherwood’s heritage, but it is a very important step as it will enable us to carry out careful study and consultation to make sure that we have got the best possible programme of proposals.”
John Everitt, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Chair of the Sherwood Forest Regional Park Board, said: “This is excellent news, which confirms the national importance of Sherwood Forest and will help us to realise the vision of a Regional Park.
“Extra funding from HLF will offer great opportunities to restore industrial areas to wildlife-rich heathland and woodland. We also want to use the richness of the area’s built and cultural heritage to connect with local communities and to stimulate a visitor economy.”
The Friends of Moor Pond Wood is one local group that is supporting the bid.
Stephen Walker, chairman of the group, said: “Thanks to HLF, we have already been able to find out more about our own site. We know that there are lots more groups interested in the heritage of their biodiversity, archaeology or built heritage and this scheme should enable lots more projects to get off the ground.
Drew Bennellick, Head of Landscape and Natural Heritage, Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “On the eve of The National Lottery’s 20th birthday, this is the perfect moment to thank Lottery players for helping make possible our Landscape Partnership programme. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
This development phase is expected to take 18 months and will prepare detailed proposals for a series of schemes to be implemented on the ground from 2017.