What is the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership?
The Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership is a five year £3.4 million Heritage Lottery Funded Project with the vision to “Celebrate and connect local people with their unique landscape and heritage to build sustainable and resilient communities.”
Along with the Heritage Lottery fund, the project is match funded by key project partners such as the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, The National Trust, Loughs Agency, NIEA and the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division.
In order to achieve the vision outlined above the Landscape Partnership has three core aims:
1) Improve management and resilience of the special landscape, habitats and
species of the project area.
2) Highlight and promote the vital role the landscape has played and continues to play in defence heritage on a global and national stage from the Napoleonic Period, through WWI, WWII, the Cold War to the present day.
3) Establish the area as a top destination in the UK and Ireland to participate in inclusive and sustainable land, sea and air based outdoor activities which
complement and add value to the area’s unique heritage assets and local
4) Support and deliver community led heritage initiatives which provide education and training opportunities, and which enhance access to, and interpretation of the area’s natural, built and cultural heritage.
Development Phase (2014-2019)
On the basis of research, consultation and a successful Stage One application, Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust secured resource for the development of a Landscape Partnership Scheme in 2018. This application was for an area of 196km2, which on the basis of public consultation extended beyond the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Boundary. On this basis a core Landscape Patnership Board was established along with four advisory groups relating to the natural environment, defense and historic environment, outdoor recreation and local community.
Throughout the Development Phase, the Landscape Partnership staff coordinated a number of research projects and prepared reports and action plans which support the development of project activities along the themes of natural environment, defence and historic environment, outdoor recreation and local community.
All research activities included extensive community consultation. This ensured that activities and actions recommended in each report have the backing of the local community and partner organisations.
Delivery Phase (2020-2025)
New team in place at the beginning of December 2020 work has began on the three key themes outlined in the development phase.
The landscape diversity and compact size of the project area means that it has developed as a natural resource base for outdoor recreation. The area is unique in Northern Ireland as the only area that provides for land, water and air-based activities in very close proximity to each other. Surfers, walkers, anglers and cyclists share the spectacular scenery with hang gliders and fixed wing gliders of the Ulster Gliding Club. The Landscape Partnership Scheme provides an ideal chance to develop a unified strategy for all of this activity and to make sure that it enhances and protects the hugely varied landscape and heritage of the area, whilst at the same time facilitating more inclusive access to the area from both the land and water.
Consultation with the local community and direction from the Outdoor Recreation Advisory Group has helped develop a range of project activities which will help the local community sustainably enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. Some of the key projects include an off-road walk connecting Castlerock and Aghanloo with the core Binevenagh area, community heritage trails in Castlerock, mountain biking opportunities and training in outdoor recreation qualifications for the local community.
See our Outdoor Recreation Projects page for more information on individual projects.
Historic environment projects form a key part of the Landscape partnership due to the rich defense and cultural history of the area. These projects are lead by Grace and they aim to to research, explore and where possible provide public access to sites of local heritage interest for which little or no public information is available.
Examples of projects include working with the landowner to conserve and repurpose the WWII Trainer Dome at Limavady as a multi-use event space. These projects will also give the local community an opportunity to volunteer and learn new heritage skills through Community Archaeology and Training events such as exploring WWI training trenches within the Ministry of Defence Estate at Magilligan Point.
See Historic Environment projects page for more information. Grace also heads up our volunteer engagement, so if you would like to get involved in any of our projects, let us know through our volunteer form.
Natural Heritage projects form a large and integral part of the landscape partnership, and involve significant work with farmers and local landowners. The five natural heritage projects are lead by Laura and Aisling and range from river catchment care, wildlife youth residentials and bog restoration.
The aim of natural heritage projects is to improve management and resilience of the special landscape, habitats and species of the project area.
As with all projects, natural heritage projects work with a wide range of projects partners, such as the Woodland Trust, Loughs Agency and the RSPB to ensure landscape wide habitat and natural resource management. By working with farmers and landowners across a range of natural heritage projects, we hope to create resilient and sustainable habitats which will continue to provide resources and ecosystem services far beyond the lifetime of the project.
For more information on individual projects, see our Natural Heritage Projects page.