AN East Lancashire countryside group is celebrating after being awarded a grant to help open up a section of semi-natural woodland to disabled people.

Friends of Spring Wood, based in Clitheroe, will receive £11,000 from the Local Heritage Initiative to develop a wheelchair-friendly route with new seating around part of the wood near Whalley.

The group will also gather information about the area's heritage to produce display boards and a leaflet on the trail, which will be circulated free to disabled groups in the area.

The Local Heritage Initiative is run by the Countryside Agency with funding of £8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1million from the Nationwide.

Susannah England, the Countryside Agency's LHI adviser for the North West region, said: "The Local Heritage Initiative recognises that the long-term future of our local heritage lies in the hands of those who value it at local level and this is an excellent example of people caring about their national heritage."

But she believes the people of Lancashire are missing out. She added: "Just ten good projects from the county have been approved so far, while in other counties, such as North Yorkshire and Derbyshire, the initiative is more popular."

For more information call the LHI information line on 0870 9000401 or log on to