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Cash for Historic Landscapes

Ann Hills on the management schemes of the Countryside Commission

£130 for a kissing gate; £200 towards a kissing gate for the disabled; £140 for a timber sluice for water level control. Those items are from a 'shopping list' of capital payments designed to revitalise and protect historic landscapes as a new option within the pioneering, broader-based Countryside Stewardship scheme, run by the Countryside Commission. The management scheme was first launched last year to take into account areas from coastal fringes to remote uplands. About 30,000 hectares of land were accepted in the first year.

In June, historic landscapes were added to the list of features and places which can be grant aided through such ten-year management agreements. Applications have to be received by the end of September to qualify for the 1992-93 payments. Several dozen are expected to he accepted within the 'historic' diversity, which can embrace moats and ponds, banks and green lanes, which have suffered misuse.

We are leading the way in Europe, said Dai Morgan Evans, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, with responsibility for countryside matters at English Heritage. Along with the Department of the Environment, and the Countryside Commission, they chose an auspicious Iron Age fort to launch the historic theme recently. Named Segsbury Castle, or alternatively, Letcombe Regis Hill Fort, it is on the Ridgeway south of Wantage in Oxfordshire, farmed by Tom Good.

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