National Lottery Heritage Fund: Nenescape
The Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS) is a £4.5 million project to celebrate, protect and conserve the natural and built heritage of the River Nene and its landscape. Led by the River Nene Regional Park and part-funded with a £2.8 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme entered its five year delivery phase in 2017 following two years of project development.
Building on the work of the Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area project, Nenescape LPS combines natural heritage conservation and restoration with community heritage, historical research and public engagement to form a scheme of projects that explore the Nene Valley, its people, heritage and identity in a changing landscape.
The projects under the Nenescape banner are being delivered through three broad themes, each supported by a number of Partnership projects.
Listen to the past
Through a series of activities, interpretation and community engagement, this theme looks to reveal hidden stories and share them on wider platforms including music, film, community projects, walking trails and public events. This will include:
Settlers of the River Nene – A hands-on heritage project at Stanwick Lakes country park, celebrating the variety of communities who have made the Nene Valley their home over the last 5,000 years.
Walking in Time – Five projects exploring and celebrating the heritage of the Lower Nene Valley at Nene Park including Bluebell Wood boardwalk and interpretation of archaeology.
Ice Age to Digital Age – Interpretation - A project to research the landscape and bring together public engagement across the Nene Valley.
Ice Age to Digital Age – Nene Journey – An exciting launch to Nenescape comprising three concerts of a specially-composed piece of music about the Nene.
Ice Age to Digital Age – Nenescape on Film – Documenting and promoting the project using film.
Community Grants – A small grants scheme for community groups to help tell stories of the Nene.
Explore the now
By encouraging exploration and increasing knowledge of the natural and built heritage, this theme aims to promote the Nene Valley as a visitor destination:
Nene Valley Festival – A nine-day annual festival celebrating the wildlife, heritage and culture of the Nene Valley.
Out of Water, Into History - A project to revitalise the Greenway in Rushden, with improved signage and habitats.
Enabling Access from Waterway to Land - Improving information and facilities for waterway users on the River Nene.
Ice Age to Digital Age – Artcodes – Using art and technology to enhance interpretation with creative digital engagement.
Ice Age to Digital Age – Extracts from a Changing Landscape - A mental wellbeing project which will use the work of John Clare and the natural environment to promote creativity.
900 Voices of the Nene - A mixed-media archive of people’s connections to the River Nene.
Secure the future
In order to provide a sustainable future for the health of the river, its wildlife and its stories, it is important to provide the right tools for new generations to continue to identify with and invest in their heritage:
Building Bridges - Community engagement with anglers, improving fishing practices and delivering education programmes.
Resilient River - A project to restore the backwaters of the Nene for improved ecology.
Farming for the Future - A meadow restoration and grants scheme to improve wildflower and wetland areas and engage the public with these habitats.
Volunteer Task Force – A volunteering programme covering three broad roles: historical research, public engagement and outdoor conservation.
Investing in Skills - A programme of training, apprenticeships and opportunities to develop skills within the partnership.
The partners working with Nenescape on the delivery of the projects are:
- River Nene Regional Park (Lead Partner)
- Nene Park Trust
- Angling Trust
- East Northamptonshire Council
- Environment Agency
- Rockingham Forest Trust
- University of Northampton
- University of Nottingham (Horizon Digital Research dept)
- Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
- Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust
- Screen Northants
- Destination Nene Valley
- One to One Development Trust
Bookended by Northampton and Peterborough, the Nenescape LPS area covers some 198km2 of landscape, following the course of the River Nene in the very heart of England, an archetypal English landscape of river meadows, woodland, farmland, villages and market towns.
WHERE CAN I SEE MORE?
Nenescape-funded activities are happening across the Nene Valley, including:
- Nene Park
- Stanwick Lakes
- Nene Valley Festival (various locations)
- The Greenway, Rushden
- Electric Cut, Peterborough
- Barnwell Country Park
- Stanwick Backwaters
- Rushden Lakes
- Wellingborough Embankment
- Grosvenor Centre, Northampton
- Upton, Northampton
- River Nene Navigation between Northampton and Peterborough
The Nene Valley is an ever-changing landscape, both affecting and changed by the people who have chosen to settle here over the last three millennia. The consistent pattern of migration by different communities, from prehistoric settlers, Romans, Saxons and Vikings, to London overspill and EU citizens in more recent times has left its impact on the area physically and culturally, often leaving behind evidence of national and international significances.
Change means that it is vitally important to record, understand and interpret this area at a time when it is evolving rapidly, to provide a sense of place and belonging for those moving into this area and existing residents alike, or to encourage more visitors and tourists to explore and value this landscape.
This has been distilled in the overarching aims of the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme:
- To understand and promote the identity of the Nene Valley and explore how past industries and peoples have shaped the landscape.
- To bring communities together, developing their skills to respond to current and future pressures through the interpretation and restoration of heritage and habitats.
"We are delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has given us this support. This Nene Valley's heritage is at risk from changing land use and population growth, this support will allow us to work proactively to protect and enhance the natural and cultural heritage in Nene Park as part of the project area. I would particularly like to thank Nene Valley Railway, Nene Valley Archaeological Trust and the Cycle West group who met with Heritage Fund officers on their last visit to show the great potential for local projects"
"Rich in wildlife and important heritage, the Nene Valley already attracts nearly two million visitors a year. It's also an area that is seeing large-scale changes with new developments and population growth. This National Lottery investment will support a wide range of organisations to work together and help more people explore the fascinating hidden stories and beauty of the Nene Valley."