Three major landscape projects across Scotland have been chosen to share more than £5 million of funding.
The cash, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will benefit communities and help protect wildlife across more than 700 square kilometres of Scottish countryside.
The winning schemes are: Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership, in Ayrshire, which has been awarded £1,354,700; the North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme, in Orkney, which received £2,829,200; and Callander’s Landscape, in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, with a grant of £1,354,700.
A total of around 60 individual projects will take place as part of the three projects, with work aimed at conserving a variety of habitats as well as forging stronger connections between local communities and the landscape.
Viking history, rare machair habitat, industrial heritage, seabirds and wild flower meadows are just some of the features being celebrated
“Our species and habitats are under constant threat, yet they make a massive contribution to our economy,” said Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland.
“The enormous pressures upon them mean that we have to approach landscape restoration and conservation on a bigger scale than ever before.
“For the last 14 years the National Lottery has been doing just that, and more.
“What communities have often already started on a small scale, we are delighted to support and grow to bring real cohesion to the natural and built heritage of a region.
“People are reconnecting with and appreciating the nature that makes Scotland so special.”
The latest awards bring the total investment in land and biodiversity projects in Scotland by the Heritage Lottery Fund to over £150 million.
Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the announcement.
She said: “The people of Scotland rightly take pride in our wonderful landscapes. The close relationship between the land and the people who live and work on it has helped to shape Scotland’s national identity over the centuries.
“Securing funding for these fantastic projects will further strengthen our understanding of that relationship and ensure these precious landscapes are preserved for generations to come.”