The Land of Oak & Iron (LOI) focuses on the Derwent Valley and the surrounding area, following the River Derwent from Derwent Reservoir to the River Tyne, involving Consett, Rowlands Gill, Prudhoe and Whickham.
This area has a fascinating industrial heritage of pioneering ironworks, steel furnaces and sword making; a beautiful natural heritage of steeply wooded valleys and a rich cultural heritage of rapper dancing, music and arts.
The LOI vision is to work with local communities and partners to conserve, enhance and celebrate this heritage. There will be many different opportunities for local people to get involved, by taking part in one or more of the 14 interconnected projects, which are divided into three themes:
•Investing in Heritage – identifying, enhancing and managing the natural and industrial heritage.
•Investing in People – investing in people to develop skills, learn about the heritage and organise volunteering activities.
•Investing in Communities – improving access to and interpretation of the heritage, expanding engagement and ownership, while promoting the area as a place to live, work and visit.
The Partnership is led by Groundwork NE & Cumbria and is made up of a wide range of partners, committed to supporting delivery, until it comes to an end in 2020. The £3.4 million scheme has been made possible by a grant of £2.2 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund.