The Sandstone Ridge – and why Frodsham should protect it

CHESHIRE’S Sandstone Ridge is one of the county’s most distinctive landscapes, covering 230 sq km of rolling hills and escarpments – and Frodsham and Helsby can lay claim to be its northern gateway.
It attracts more than a million visitors annually and it boasts 449 listed buildings, six Iron Age hillforts and four castles.
Some 36,000 people live within its area, it is the location for 1,000 businesses and it offers views across eight counties.
The Sandstone Ridge Trust and partner organisations are seeking to secure its long term future for the enjoyment of present and succeeding generations and the continuations of the multiple economic, health and environmental benefits it provides.
But the Trust is an entirely voluntary organisations and it sees town and parish councils in the area as key partners in their ongoing project.
Trust chairman Andrew Hull and project manager Ian Marshall outlined their ambitions for the project in a special presentation to Frodsham Town Council which, they said, was the first to get involved.
But in the coming year they hope to involve many more.
In late 2016, the Trust was awarded Heritage Lottery Transition funding to explore how best to look after the Ridge, to promote and sustain the area’s qualities and secure long-term financial and community investment to create an attractive environment in which businesses and local communities can thrive. Cheshire West and Chester Council also contributed to the project which runs until next December.
Ideally, the Trust would like to see the area designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Key activities of the project include:
*Involving local people and groups and combining their opinions and concerns with evidence and policy analysis to issues, needs and opportunities.
*Pulling together a Sandstone Ridge “family” of stakeholders to harness talent and commitment and encourages everyone to get involved.
*Creating a brand and identity for the Ridge that strengthens partnership working and helps unlock potential investment opportunities.
*Joining up the efforts of partners, agencies and administrators to use resources to best effect.
The Sandstone Ridge Trust stresses that the Ridge is a dynamic, living rural landscape, shaped by centuries of activity by farmers, and foresters, estates, businesses and communities and it will continue to evolve in ways that cannot always be predicted.
“Its special qualities cannot, therefore, be taken for granted and it is in everyone’s interest to work together to look after the area so that we may all continue to enjoy its many benefits.”

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