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Geoparks are areas of outstanding geology that are used by local communities, alongside their cultural and natural heritage, to promote sustainable economic development, conservation, and education.

Charnwood Forest has a geological story that dates back nearly 600 million years, and is home to some of the oldest animal fossils ever described. The Charnwood Forest Geopark, supported by the Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme, will be working with partners, communities, and businesses across the region to celebrate and promote learning about our unique heritage, support sustainable geotourism, and protect local sites. It is hoped that in the coming years an application will be submitted to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.

In 2020 Leicestershire’s Charnwood Forest was awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £2,767,300 to put this little-known heritage landscape very firmly on the map. This unique region is of international significance, but very few people are aware of its value – even locally. The landscape is currently at risk from a number of pressures, and this grant supports a number of projects to protect and enhance it.

The grant, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, funds the Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme. This five-year scheme promotes awareness and understanding of the importance of Charnwood Forest through 18 projects that include geological conservation; habitat restoration; improvements to connections between sites for visitors; the creation of innovative interpretation; outdoor learning opportunities for young people and adults; and a programme of cultural and heritage activities and events.

The Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme is hosted by the National Forest Company. The Partnership comprises: Bradgate Park Trust, British Geological Survey, Charnwood Arts, Charnwood Borough Council, Environment Agency, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Leicestershire County Council, Leicestershire Local Access Forum, Leicestershire Promotions, Leicestershire & Rutland Sport, Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, National Farmers Union, National Forest Company, Natural England, North West Leicestershire District Council, Soar Catchment Partnership with Trent Rivers Trust, Sustainable Land Trust, and Voluntary Action Leicestershire.

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