Projects which have improved a pair South Yorkshire beauty spots are in the running for national awards.
Work carried out at an ancient woodland in Norton, Sheffield and the amphitheatre at Boston Castle, Rotherham has been shortlisted for thr Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts’ annual Biffa Award.
The Moss Valley Woodland Works scheme, run by Sheffield Wildlife Trust, was nominated in the small grants category after using £5,000 in funding to erect fencing to protect Dowey Lumb – an area of wood pasture with a high diversity of vegetation – from activities such as motorbiking.
The fencing ensures only visitors on foot are allowed access to prevent damage to the ancient woodland flora.
Meanwhile the Friends of Boston Castle and Parklands has been put forward in the cultural facilities category in recognition of its recent restoration project. Members received £50,000 in funding from Biffa to remodel Boston Castle’s current courtyard for it to serve as an outdoor events area and amphitheatre.
The work forms part of a larger scheme to bring the exterior and interior of the castle, erected in 1773, back to its former glory.
Judges of the Biffa Award aim to recognise people who transform their communities by improving their environments.
Gillian French, Biffa Award programme manager, said: “Every year we organise a special celebration to recognise and reward the people behind the outstanding projects we fund.
“All of our projects are run by people who work hard to bring communities together and make a lasting difference to their local areas and the environment, so to be shortlisted for an award is a tremendous achievement.
“Our judges have a difficult but exciting task ahead in choosing the winners.”
Both sites beat off stiff competition from 240 projects across the UK.
The winner of each category will win £2,000 prize money and also stands a chance of being awarded a further £1,000 if they are crowned the overall winner of the competition.
The awards ceremony takes place on ThinkTank Science Museum in Birmingham on September 24.
Being shortlisted for an award was a sign that hard work pays off for conservationists. The 18th-century hunting lodge, built by the third Earl of Effingham on the summit of Canklow, opened to the public last year after a comprehensive restoration. Castle tours and family events now take place at the site throughout the summer season.
Janet Worrall, secretary of Friends of Boston Castle and Parklands, said: “All of our members are delighted that we have been shortlisted for an award.
“The courtyard has proved to be very popular with visitors to the park and is used for events and also recreation on a daily basis.
“We have some very exciting events in prospect at Boston Castle’s courtyard, and we look forward to working with groups and organizations to make good use of this wonderful space.”
At Moss Valley, the improvements mean more people will be able to enjoy the plush surroundings of the nature reserve for years to come. The wildlife trust holds regular guided walks through the area for Sheffield residents.