FARMERS will be encouraged to apply for funding for schemes aimed at protecting habitats for wildife.

Fellfoot Forward is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and will be focusing on the fell side and valley landscapes between Hallbankgate and Melmerby, including a large section of the Cumbrian part of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Farming practices, many of which are generations-old, are responsible for protecting our soils, mitigating flood risks and conserving heritage and biodiversity.

The Fellfoot Forward scheme will be working with farmers to safeguard high nature value farming and enhance habitats for wildlife.

The Environment Grant allows landowners and farmers to apply for a 50 percent grant for conserving, enhancing and connecting habitats for wildlife, including: hedgerow creation and maintenance; woodland creation and management; in-field tree planting; pond and wetland creation; rush control for breeding waders, and other habitat creation/improvement works with clear benefits for native wildlife.

Fellfoot, together with North Pennines AONB has opened the window for applications to two grant schemes; one for community groups and another for environmental projects. Scheme Manager, Emma Wright, said: “By supporting local initiatives, whether it’s a community project or an environment grant, our grants offer an opportunity for local people to invest in our unique Fellfoot landscape.We know there is a wealth of ideas and expertise in Fellfoot communities and on local farms, so we’re really looking forward to receiving applications and getting projects on the ground.”