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Have you taken a photo that captures the best of Suffolk's beautiful coastline?

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 January 2020

Nayland Picture: MIKE PAGE

Nayland Picture: MIKE PAGE

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Money from the National Lottery is to be used for a five-year photography project to celebrate 50 years since two of the country's most beautiful areas were given special protection and recognition.

Dunwich Heath Picture: JUSTIN MINNSDunwich Heath Picture: JUSTIN MINNS

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have been awarded £129,000 to help them celebrate the milestone.

The aim of the AONBs - which were designated in 1970 - will be to encourage residents and visitors to connect with the landscapes, raising awareness of the special qualities of the AONBs and the track the changes to the landscape through a photography initiative.

Both AONBs have very different and unique landscapes. The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB is made up of largely tranquil and unspoilt landscape with wildlife-rich estuaries, ancient heaths, windswept shingle beaches and historic towns and villages, while the Dedham Vale is characterised by a lowland English river valley landscape with significant cultural heritage made famous by artists including Constable and Gainsborough.

The photography initiative will see the installation of fixed-point photography posts across both AONBs and visitors will be invited to share their photographs on a dedicated website with the aim of building a unique record of the changing landscapes through the seasons over the next five years.

Nigel Chapman, chairman of the Dedham Vale AONB, said: "We are delighted to receive this award from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help us celebrate the 50th anniversary of the designation of the Dedham Vale AONB. It is of great importance to us, as this grant will allow us to seek to get more people from a broader background involved in the nationally designated landscape to support its natural beauty, visitor economy and quality of life for residents."

David Wood, chairman of Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, said: "We celebrate the 50th year since the designation of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB at a crucial time.

"The recently endorsed 'Colchester Declaration' sets out how the AONB network will seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change and wildlife decline.

"This grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will allow us to deliver projects that not only celebrate 50 years but help to ensure this national landscape is conserved and enhanced for all."

Manager of AONB staff team Simon Amstutz said: This is the first time the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded us a grant to work across the two national landscapes in Essex and Suffolk. The grant will enable us to work with the local community, visitors and businesses to conserve and enhance these wonderful areas."

Since 1994, the National Lottery has invested £829million into nature and wildlife projects and the latest round of £7.4m funding nationwide will help threatened species and habitats - from the seas of the Northern Isles to parkland in Devon.

Drew Bennellick, head of land and nature policy at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "Urgent action is needed to help nature recover. National Lottery funding is creating incredible opportunities for people to take such action for species under threat and, crucially, equipping a new generation with the skills and passions to make a real difference for the future of our natural world."

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