Hands on Heritage

A programme of outreach, engagement, celebration and sharing activities to enable people to learn about the wildlife, habitats and heritage of the area and get involved in their conservation.

Hands on Heritage is about creating opportunities for local people and visitors to explore the natural and cultural heritage of the area and the crucial connection between people and the landscape, both in the past and in the present.

A programme of outreach, engagement, celebration and sharing activities enables people to learn about the wildlife, habitats and heritage of the area and get involved in their conservation.

The story of the Rusland Horizons area and the scheme itself will be told through film, booklets, activities and an exhibition and website. In this way, we hope to draw in, increase the dwell time of, and deepen engagement for, visitors and residents who might otherwise not know about the area and its heritage.

Aims and benefits:

  • More people in our target audience groups experience deeper engagement with the heritage of the area.
  • Informed landowners.
  • Increased dwell time for visitors
  • People have an increased understanding of the natural and cultural heritage of the area
  • Volunteers trained in presentation skills, film-making, species identification and surveying techniques.
  • Improved awareness of the distribution of priority species in area – increased number of sightings recorded.
  • Improved conservation of wildlife, habitats and landscape features.
  • Information shared through the website, booklet, exhibition and temporary on site panels.
© Colin Barr

So far so good...

Update October 2018: ...

  • 'Bioblitz' weekend 2018! - Over 80 people attended a fantastic hot and sunny weekend at Bowkerstead Farm, near Grizedale to record all the different species found in the area over 24 hours. Scroll down to 'Watch' below.
  • 35 people took part in the 2017 'Big Xmas Bash' conservation work parties, bridge-building, path-clearing, dry-stone-walling and coppicing, followed by mulled wine and hot stew at The Manor House, Oxen Park
  • 6 children's 'Land to Hand' days held for local kids to take part in creative nature activities
  • 300 visitors attended our 'Woodland Crafts and Tales' weekend event in June 2017, held at Stott Park Bobbin Mill, with an earthburn, demonstrations, displays, story-telling, music and food.
  • 10 people trained up to make short films about Rusland Horizons to share online.
  • 121 visitors came to our June 2016 Earthburn held at Stott Park Bobbin Mill, in partnership with the Coppice Association North West and English Heritage.
  • 188 volunteers took part on our Rusland Fell Care Day, held in partnership with Friends of the Lake District.
  • 2 primary schools involved, and have taken part in designing the Greenwood Trails logo, tree-planting, forest school, hay-meadow planting, oral history and wildlife-drawing.
  • We attended over 10 shows and fairs, including Rusland Spring Show and the Rusland Show
  • 2 conferences held to support the Rusland Horizons Partnership.
  • 3 Community Forums held in the local area.

Did you know?

A Bioblitz is a biological survey that aims to record all of the different species in a given area within a time limit of 24 hours. Over 80 people attended Rusland Horizons's Bioblitz event during summer 2018. Watch the video (click link below).

Have a look at our I-spy guide created by Class 3 at Leven Valley School  - Things to do in the Rusland Valley before you are grown up.  Click Read below. 


  • Watch (2 videos)

    Autumn Activities 2017

    Gosh, autumn was busy! Here's a taste of what we were up to.

    Rusland Horizons Bioblitz Weekend 2018

    Rusland Horizons hosted a Bioblitz weekend in summer 2018, to record all the species found in a given area over 24 hours.
  • Read (1 download)

Project Lead

Rusland Horizons staff team

The Challenge

Many visitors to the area currently travel through the area to the main visitor attractions without pausing to appreciate why the landscape looks the way it does. Surveys conducted during the development phase revealed that most visitors spend less than half a day in the area.

People do not generally appear to value what makes the area special from a specialist archaeological, historical or ecological perspective. However, this is probably because they are largely unaware of those features, no doubt due in large part to the current lack of heritage interpretation in the area. This is a deficit that the scheme aims to correct.

Our Approach

Hands on Heritage is at the heart of Rusland Horizons; it supports all of the other projects in the scheme. We are attending local shows and giving talks to spread the word about the scheme and recruit volunteers. We are involving the local schools, youth clubs and community groups in exploring and conserving what makes this landscape special. Through this website, forum events and conferences and by holding an end of scheme exhibition, we are celebrate and share our achievements.

One of the distinguishing, and highly valued, features of the area is that it is quiet and unspoilt. In line with this, we are focusing primarily on increasing the ‘dwell time’ of people who visit the area and to deepen their engagement with the area’s heritage. We are not seeking to achieve a significant increase in the total number of people who visit the area.

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2019. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons is a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund