Pendle Hill's bulky profile dominates the Ribble Valley

Pendle Hill's bulky profile dominates the Ribble Valley

A Lancashire hill shrouded in bewitching history is among 13 landscapes to benefit from lottery grants announced on Halloween.

Pendle Hill, home to the infamous 17th century group tried for witchcraft, will receive a share of a £31m pot being distributed to UK landscape projects by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The 557m (1,827ft) peak is home to an annual Halloween gathering to celebrate its supernatural history. Other beneficiaries of the HLF grants include Callander’s Pass – Mind the Gap – in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park, the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership in Dumfries and Galloway, the North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme in Orkney, Brightwater Landscape Partnership in County Durham and Revitalising Redesdale, in Northumberland.

Drew Bennellick, HLF head of landscape and natural heritage, said: “Landscapes are more than just beautiful scenery: they are the backdrop to some of history’s most notorious events.

“What better way to mark Halloween than to look at how Pendle Hill with its bleak peat bogs and rugged heather moorland was witness to the witchcraft trials phenomenon that spread right across Lancashire in the 1600s.”

This funding will help 3,000 sq km (1,158 sq miles) of countryside, supporting conservation work, reconnecting local communities and creating new jobs and training opportunities, HLF said.

UK Government environment minister Rory Stewart said: “This is wonderful news. The Heritage Lottery Fund is now playing an absolutely central role in conserving and restoring our landscape.”

Callander's Pass in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park

Callander's Pass in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park

In Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for rural affairs, food and the environment Richard Lochhead said: “These three large-scale landscapes are amongst the most iconic in Scotland and it is great to see that £7.5m has been awarded to allow these important and ambitious projects to be realised.

“These projects will provide job and training opportunities, benefits for local communities, as well as, the obvious benefits for the environment.

“The wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland depends on the health of our environment. As set out in the Scotland’s Biodiversity Route Map to 2020, it is vital that action is taken now to care for, protect and restore fragile habitats and species. This investment will allow substantial work to be carried out which will support the aims of the 2020 Challenge for Biodiversity.”

Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Our species and habitats are under constant threat yet they make a massive contribution to our economy.

“The enormous pressures upon them mean that we have to approach landscape restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before. For the last 11 years our landscape partnership programme has been doing just that, and more. What communities have often already started on a small scale, HLF is delighted to take forward, bringing real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of a region. Thanks to National Lottery players, people are reconnecting with, and appreciating the nature that makes Scotland so special.”

Other schemes to benefit from the grants announced today are: Water, Mills and Marshes – The Broads Landscape Partnership, Norfolk; Our Picturesque Landscape, Dee Valley, North East Wales; Elan Links – People, Nature & Water, Mid Wales; Living Levels Partnership, Gwent, South Wales; Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, Fermanagh, Northern Ireland; Nenescape: Revealing the Hidden Stories of the Nene Valley, Northampton, and First and Last – Our Living Working Landscape, Penwith, Cornwall.