New Trail Will Link River Maun's Historic Sites
Two centuries of industrial history alongside the river Maun will be brought to life with a new heritage trail linking Sutton in Ashfield to Mansfield.
A £870,000 National Lottery grant will help Ashfield District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and partners in their wide-ranging project showcasing the history of the River Maun and the many watermills that operated alongside it.
The three-year project, now given the go-ahead by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), will see the existing visitor centre at the reservoir upgraded to provide a heritage hub with a community outreach ranger employed to encourage activities along the riverside trail, targeting people with disabilities and long term health conditions.
Improved health and wellbeing is a feature of the project, promoting walking and cycling along the new heritage trail.
As well as this, crucial de-silting work will be carried out to remove the build-up of sedimentation that has threatened wildlife and reduced water-based sporting activities at Kings Mill Reservoir. The removal of some 4,000 m³ of silt will be augmented by the creation of small islands and reed beds that will improve natural habitats including those for water voles; an endangered species.
Councillor Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council, said: “We are delighted to receive this funding as we hope the project will be a turning point in Ashfield’s visitor economy, as well as benefitting wildlife and activity participation.
“The heritage trails will provide educative tours between Sutton Lawn and Kings Mill Reservoir, giving insight on the areas milling history. The consultation period saw incredible support for the project and by working with community groups from across the district and beyond, we know that our residents can’t wait to see the improvements take shape.”
Archaeology research will allow visitors to discover more about the importance of the River Maun to the development of both Mansfield and Ashfield. In addition to new waymarks and information boards along the heritage trail, restoration and repair work will be carried out to the Grade II listed King’s Mill viaduct – the earliest multi-span railway bridge in England.
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “This project has been made possible by National Lottery players. It will protect wildlife, create a riverside trail through the area’s rich industrial history and encourage local people to learn more about the area. By following the trail they will also improve their health and wellbeing.”
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