National Lottery Awards over £100k for 50th Anniversary Project!

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Suffolk and North Essex awarded over £100k from National Lottery

A joint application from the Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is one of 15 to be awarded a share of £7.4million from the National Lottery.

The project will celebrate the 50th anniversary of both areas, which were formally designated in 1970, and will encourage residents and visitors to connect with the landscapes.

The £129,000 grant from the National Lottery will help the AONBs celebrate the 50th anniversary milestone by connecting people with the landscape, raising awareness of the special qualities of the AONBs and the track the changes to the landscape through a photography initiative.

Both AONBs have very different and unique landscapes. The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB is made up of largely tranquil and unspoilt landscape with wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages, while the Dedham Vale is characterised by a lowland English river valley landscape with significant cultural heritage made famous by artists including Constable and Gainsborough.

The photography initiative will see the installation of fixed-point photography posts across both AONBs and visitors will be invited to share their photographs on a dedicated website with the aim of building a unique record of the changing landscapes through the seasons over the next five years.

Cllr Nigel Chapman, Chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB commented: “We are delighted to receive this award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help us celebrate the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Dedham Vale AONB. It is of great importance to us, as this grant will allow us to seek to get more people from a broader background involved in the nationally designated landscape to support its natural beauty, visitor economy and quality of life for residents.

Cllr David Wood, Chairman of Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB said: “We celebrate the 50th year since the designation of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB at a crucial time. The recently endorsed ‘Colchester Declaration’ sets out how the AONB network will seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change and wildlife decline. This grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow us to deliver projects that not only celebrate 50 years but help to ensure this national landscape is conserved and enhanced for all“.

Commenting on the announcement, Simon Amstutz, Manager of AONB staff team said: “This is the first time the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded us a grant to work across the two national landscapes in Essex and Suffolk. The grant will enable us to work with the local community, visitors and businesses to conserve and enhance these wonderful areas“.

Since 1994, the National Lottery has invested £829million into nature and wildlife projects and this round of funding will help threatened species and habitats – from the seas of the Northern Isles to parkland in Devon.

Drew Bennellick, Head of Land and Nature Policy at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Urgent action is needed to help nature recover. National Lottery funding is creating incredible opportunities for people to take such action for species under threat and, crucially, equipping a new generation with the skills and passions to make a real difference for the future of our natural world.

ENDS – Notes to editors

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and belong to an international Protected Landscape Family. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland.  For further information about the AONB Family visit

The Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Stour Valley is a characteristic lowland English landscape on the Suffolk-Essex border, still as recognisable today as it was when painted by Constable and Gainsborough. The charm of the villages, fascinating local attractions and beauty of the surrounding countryside mean there’s no shortage of places to go and things to see: @DedhamValeSVP

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB extends from the Stour estuary to the eastern fringe of Ipswich and as far north as Kessingland, and includes the whole of the Suffolk Heritage Coast. It covers 155 square miles, including wildlife-rich wetlands, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages: @SuffolkAONB

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund: Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

By Cathy Smith on January 14th, 2020