A SCHEME that aims to improve woodlands has been awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of funding.

The Durham Woodland Revival project has been awarded £434,200 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to restore and reconnect woodland in the county.

The funding will enable Durham County Council to work with Woodland Trust, Northwoods, Wear Rivers Trust and the Forestry Commission to bring neglected and under-managed woodland back into good condition and to boost woodland cover over a four-year period, starting this summer.

Focusing on 5,000 hectares of woodland within a ten-mile radius from Durham City, the project looks at different ways of managing a range of different woodlands, from the diverse ecosystems of ancient woodland to the conifer plantations established for the mining industry, now a source of timber and fuel.

Councillor Brian Stephens said: “We are thrilled to have been awarded this National Lottery Heritage funding. Woodlands are a fantastic potential resource for communities but unfortunately, woodland cover in some areas of our county is low and almost half of what we do have is undermanaged.

“This funding will play an essential part in allowing us to bring this woodland back into management and for us to maximise the major benefits that woodland can offer, from making positive contributions to people’s mental and physical health to wildlife conservation and timber production.”