COLNE Valley Regional Park – the first real taste of the countryside immediately west of London – is to receive funding worth £2.5m.

The park covers 43 square miles, a mosaic of farmland, woodland and water, with 200 miles of river and canal, and more than 60 lakes.

The landscape is is under constant pressure, especially from huge transport projects, like the HS2 high speed rail line and now proposed expansion of Heathrow at its southern end.

This week, it was announced the area will receive £1.63m from the Lottery for a wide-ranging project, Colne Valley: A Landscape on the Edge. This will be topped up by other funding to bring total investment to £2.5m.

Work will start this autumn, led by community charity Groundwork South.

Landscape on the Edge is an ambitious range of 19 projects and programmes over three years.

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It includes measures to help threatened water voles to thrive, conserve wildlife habitats, raise awareness among people of the need to reduce water consumption and conserve wetland habitats.

Additionally, it will support conservation groups while encouraging residents and visitors to celebrate their landscape by getting out and about in it.

Stewart Pomeroy, Colne Valley managing agent, said: “In a month where, HS2 construction continues and the Government voted on proposed Heathrow expansion, Groundwork South is pleased to play an important part in bringing some good news for the landscapes, rivers, wildlife and communities in and around the Colne Valley.”