ROSSENDALE'S role in providing the nation with stone since the Industrial Revolution is to be celebrated thanks to a £500,000 lottery grant.

The Rossendale Valley of Stone Heritage Landscape Partnership has been awarded the cash to help promote the borough's rich quarrying heritage to residents and tourists alike.

The Groundwork-led partnership was set up a number of years ago, aiming to contribute to the environmental, cultural and economic regeneration of Rossendale by celebrating and developing its quarry and tramway heritage.

Rossendale has been providing stone products for use across the country since the Industrial Revolution, including sandstone flags in Trafalgar Square.

The project has already begun preserving quarry features and recording memories of former quarry workers, which will be available for visitors to listen to at quarry sites across the Valley.

Now the Heritage Lottery Fund grant will go towards significantly developing activities such as this, and also offering training in skills such as dry stone walling and quarrying, and setting up self-guided trails through the sites.

A website dedicated to the project is also planned.

Stephen Boyce, from Heritage Lottery Fund, said the work around the quarry sites would allow the creation of "museums without walls".

He said: "They would give everyone the chance to learn more about its history and natural beauty, and to get involved in conserving it for future generations to explore".

Groundwork executive director Peter Jordan said the lottery grant was "fantastic news".

He said: "The Valley of Stone partnership will able to conserve unique local assets and engage people with their historical landscape for years to come."

The partnership includes the county and borough councils, United Utilities, Horse and Bamboo Theatre, Mid-Pennine Arts, Community Action Rossen-dale and Heritage Recording.