A GRANT of more than £60,000 has been given to ensure a Bromyard beauty spot remains a place of enjoyment for years to come.

Bromyard Downs Common Association (BDCA), in partnership with Herefordshire Nature Trust, has received £67,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for its 'Putting the Sparkle back in to Bromyard Downs' project.

The volunteer-run project will safeguard and improve the Downs for the community and wildlife, which will see volunteers trained in a range of survey skills, and will also fund community events and improve knowledge of the flora, fauna and archaeology of the area.

Bromyard Downs Common is a 114 hectare site above the market town of Bromyard and it is home to a diverse range of animals, insects and plants.

Declining and rarer bird species including cuckoo, bullfinch and marsh tit are all at home on the Downs, as well as the increasingly rare glow worm.

Evan Bowen-Jones, chairman of BDCA, said: “We’re delighted that the HLF has given us this support. The Downs is an integral part of Bromyard's identity and this success means we can ensure the Downs will be preserved for the residents and other users while continuing to be a haven for declining wildlife. It will remain a jewel in Bromyard's crown for many years to come.”

The group now has up to two years to submit fully developed proposals and to get management in place which means they can apply for a second grant. This could bring their eventual funding total to £200,000.

Reyahn King, head of HLF West Midlands, said: “This initial support will help local people working to safeguard their natural environment and we look forward to receiving the detailed plans for safeguarding the commons’ future for wildlife and for the local community.”

The BDCA is run entirely by volunteers and as land-owners, Herefordshire Council will be involved with the project.