National Grid supporting landscape improvements in the Longdendale Valley

Local project benefits from the Landscape Enhancement Initiative

Alongside our work removing the pylons at Dunford Bridge, National Grid is also active on the other side of the Woodhead Tunnel in the Longdendale Valley.

The Landscape Enhancement Initiative (LEI) is part of National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision (VIP) project which supports smaller landscape enhancement projects in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks with grants of up to £200,000 for projects that help reduce the visual impact of our overhead lines.

At Torside, a heartfelt donation to the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail from a family long connected with the Peak District National Park provided the seed funding for an LEI grant. This has enabled fantastic improvements to the accessibility of the Longdendale Valley section of this long-distance route.

The initial works enabled by the donation quickly gained the support of all and helped develop the wider vision for the valley, levering in more funding, and even more improvements.

The Peak District National Park Authority secured funds from National Grid’s LEI to deliver a range of access, biodiversity and landscape improvements in the valley and United Utilities committed to providing seating and installing many of the improvements funded.

The Longdendale Access Project (LAP) includes information boards and a leaflet, sound boxes kindly voiced by Brian Blessed, activity posts, new seating, wheelchair access to a dipping pond, as well as the UK’s first mechanical Changing Place facility.

Environmentalist and broadcaster Chris Baines, who chairs the independent Stakeholder Advisory Group for National Grid’s Visual Impact Provision project, said: “Through the Landscape Enhancement Initiative we hope to make a positive contribution towards preserving and enhancing the natural beauty, cultural heritage, biodiversity as well as accessibility within England and Wales’s most precious landscapes.

“The fantastic work being undertaken in the Longdendale Valley is helping to enhance the enjoyment for all the of locals and visitors who come to the Peak District every year, in an area near where I grew up and have great affection for.”

Simon Geller, Chair of the Friends of the Trans Pennine Trail said, “This has been a tremendous project to work on over the last few years and really does show how little projects can grow and make such a difference”.

The Chair of the Trans Pennine Trail Partnership, Gillian Ivey, said, “It’s been a great opportunity for the TPT national office to meet the family and work with all the stakeholders together. I’d like to say thank you to everyone for their commitment and inspiration. I hope this is the first of many projects of this nature and what a fitting tribute for a legacy.”

Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans Director of the North of England said, “The TPT and Sustrans has been working hard to look at opportunities to improve accessibility along the Trail and its great to see another example of what can be achieved”.