The Nenescape programme, which was launched in November with a £2.6m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will see 16 projects carried out by 11 organisations.
The scheme will invest more than £4.4m in the Nene Valley over the next 5 years, delivering projects that will improve access to the water, restore wetland and wildlife habitat, uncover and celebrate the area’s history, and develop tourism.
Among the initiatives is one aimed at boosting the river’s reputation as a nationally-renowned destination for boaters.
Led by the Environment Agency, this part of Nenescape will improve access to and from the navigable part of the river, provide better facilities for those cruising it, and make the most of nearby transport links, communities and attractions. A total of £500,000 has been allocated to this part of the scheme.
Proposals include additional moorings, better routes and access for canoeing, improved links with nearby footpaths and cycleways, and more information for visitors about the area’s sights, heritage and wildlife.
Boost for local economy
It is hoped this part of the Nenescape programme will attract more boaters and other visitors to the area, boosting the local economy.
Candy Reed, partnership officer for the Environment Agency, said:
The River Nene is one of the nation’s greatest rivers – we’re delighted to be playing a part in its future. Our work – and that of the wider Nenescape programme – will help everyone get the most out of this stunning location, which really is a national treasure.
Vision for the future
The Environment Agency’s proposals are the result of an extensive study into the River Nene, its surrounding communities, and its economic potential.
In consultation with people who use the river and representatives of the local area, the agency’s Waterspace Study identified opportunities that would improve, protect and promote the Nene, creating a vision for the future that underpins the Nenescape programme and supported the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Amanda Johnson, Nenescape project manager, said:
It is so important to create an inviting environment for boaters to enjoy the spectacular views and heritage offered along the Nene Valley and, equally, to maintain a healthy environment for wildlife to thrive in. We are so pleased to be working with the Environment Agency to deliver these complementary projects and look forward to seeing the benefits for years to come.
At 91 miles, the Nene is the tenth longest river in the UK. It flows through Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, borders Norfolk and ends at The Wash. Around 65 miles of it is navigable.
Away from the navigable stretch, the River Nene Regional Park is taking the lead on a project to improve the ecology of backwaters, with the Environment Agency’s help. This Resilient River element of Nenescape will restore natural features, boost biodiversity, improve water quality and provide safe and supportive habitats for a greater range of wildlife.
Other Nenescape partners include the River Nene Regional Park, the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, Natural England, East Northamptonshire Council, Angling Trust, University of Northampton, Nene Park Trust, Rockingham Forest Trust, Destination Nene Valley, University of Nottingham, Screen Northants and Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust.