A PROJECT that will promote the landscape and hidden histories of the Dearne Valley has secured lottery funding.

Barnsley Council has been earmarked £1,882,000 to develop the Dearne Valley Green Heart Landscape Partnership.

The cash will be spent on conservation and improvements of key heritage, archaeological and environmental features as well as running community workshops, events and talks.

Better cycle routes, footpaths and themed routed might also be created

A spokesman said: "Across the valley floor area there is a chain of wetlands, marshlands and ancient woodlands that are home to many species of birds and wildlife.

"The valley was a centre of coal mining in South Yorkshire which has had a clear impact on the landscape of the valley. Mining subsidence has created a series of ings (water meadows and marshes) and many of the former spoil heaps have been regenerated, creating a distinctive “reclaimed” landscape.

"The priority over the next 18 months is to work with the local community to develop the five-year programme further."

Coun Linda Burgess said RSPB Old Moor demonstrates the potential for the area, attracting over 100,000 visitors every year.

"It is opportunities like this that can be built on, encouraging more visitors into the area, providing people with a chance to learn new skills, making more people aware of the area and protecting the precious heritage and environment.”