The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme is now a good seven months into its development phase. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to ensure we will present a coherent and well-balanced scheme to the Heritage Lottery Fund for our stage 2 submission later this year. But, you may wonder, what exactly is happening?
With less than four months left before our stage 2 application deadline, I thought it would be a good moment to take stock and show you what we have been doing and what is left to do.
Development and Delivery phase
First of all, a very quick overview of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme (or OWLP for short): This four-year scheme consists of a one-year development phase and three years for the delivery phase.
The Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme: timeline for development and delivery
Development phase research
We are now starting to get the research data in from a number of separate pieces of work:
1. A Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) is being carried out by landscape consultants Sheils Flynn. They are doing an excellent job on;
- Redefining the landscape boundary for the OWLP scheme;
- Describing the landscape character for the area as a whole and the various character areas within;
- Providing a narrative of the complex yet intriguing history of landscape development;
- Formulating landscape management guidance;
- Creation of a number of relevant maps about, amongst others, geology; soils; topography; biodiversity; and heritage.
2. Access & Audience Planning work is being carried out by Cambridgeshire ACRE. This consists of desk-based research and a series of consultations to find out about barriers and opportunities for community engagement, learning and access. Community consultations have been held in the local parishes in the OWLP area and the surrounding market towns, surveys are being carried out with our partners organisations and stakeholders, and with tourists visiting the area and its attractions.
3. A Ditch Biodiversity Survey is being carried out by our consultants Jonathan Graham and Martin Hammond, specialists in aquatic plants and invertebrates, respectively. They are investigating field drains and ditches from the Internal Drainage Boards for their biodiversity value – through this, they will be able to identify biodiversity ‘hotspots’ in the area, which could then be targeted through wildlife friendly farming initiatives. they will also supply us with recommendations for management improvements.
4. Work is also being done by James Baddeley Consulting to create a Framework for the scheme’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Legacy Planning elements. This work will be essential to ensure we get the most out of the scheme and we will leave a clear legacy for the landscape, its heritage and communities.
5. Finally, a piece of work has just been commissioned to Speed, to provide the OWLP scheme with a visible identity, through the creation of a logo and a house style.
Feeding into the LCAP
So, you may ask, what are we going to do with all of this information? Well, all of this work, plus a range of other pieces of development work and research, will feed into our stage 2 submission, to be handed in early November.
As part of this submission, we will be handing in a Landscape Conservation Action Plan, or LCAP for short. This is how the separate pieces of work are related:
What is this LCAP about then? Well, it does four things:
- It summarises the heritage of the area, showing what is important and why;
- It provides an understanding of the threats facing the landscape , thereby setting out what are the ‘needs’ of the landscape and its communities, and what opportunities there are to address the issues identified. Think, for instance about threats caused by climate change; flooding; socio-economic deprivation; or limited access opportunities.
- It shows how the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme is addressing the needs of the landscape and communities, with the provision of details of the projects it will carry out to do so.
- It shows how the benefits of the scheme will be sustained post-2017.
This could also be presented as such:
Main elements of a Landscape Conservation Action Plan
The below file provides a somewhat more detailed understanding of the basics of an LCAP document:
For more information about Landscape Conservation Action Plans, see also the relevant Heritage Lottery Fund websites, such as this one.
What will the LCAP look like? Each Landscape Partnership scheme is different, as each has different aims related to the specifics of the landscape’s heritage; also each LP scheme is run by very different partnerships. As a result, each LCAP is also very different. To give you, nevertheless, an idea of what you could expect from us, here are a few links to some LCAPs from some other Landscape Partnerships which have inspired our work: