Partners in a project which enhances and conserves the landscape and heritage of the area gathered in Ilkley last Saturday to celebrate European success.

The South Pennines Watershed Landscape project partners were awarded their Europa Nostra Laureate by Dr Peter Collins, the chairman of Europa Nostra UK, at a reception held at the Manor House Museum.

Dr Collins congratulated all concerned on the achievement, and said: “Their work has placed the project in the forefront across Europe in demonstrating how an exceptional landscape could be protected and enhanced, whilst promoting an understanding of its rich heritage to inspire present and future generations.”

Volunteers and project partners were also joined by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain.

The project is managed by the rural regeneration company Pennine Prospects and involves a number of partners, including dedicated volunteers. Louise Brown, Pennine Prospects community archaeologist, said: “One of the strengths of this project is the work of the diligent and enthusiastic volunteers.

“It is exciting for the project to have received such a prestigious award, not only highlighting the fantastic wealth of archaeology and historic features across the South Pennines, but also recognising the hard work of the project volunteers in recording and monitoring aspects of our prehistoric and industrial heritage.”

As part of the festivities, young and old alike enjoyed an afternoon of exploring the prehistory of the South Pennines with flint knapping demonstrations by Karl Lee, of Primitive Technologies, and learnt about how people lived in the Stone Age with Tony Sherratt, of Timezones, who dressed as a Neolithic man.

Visitors to the free family fun afternoon, part of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of British Archaeology, even tried their hands at archaeology with Kidz Digz, along with activities such as rope making, grinding barley on quern stones and handling artefacts, including flint and churt arrowheads, scrapers, and tools made from bone and antler.

There was also a chance to explore the rock carvings across Rombalds Moor with members of the CSI: Rombalds Moor team.

Europa Nostra is a pan-European non-government organisation, with a vast network of professionals and volunteers who are committed to safeguarding Europe’s cultural heritage.

It represents 250 non-government and non-profit organisations from 50 European countries.

The South Pennines Watershed project was one of only 30 winners to be selected from nearly 200 nominated projects from across Europe.

It was the only UK winner in the Education, Training and Awareness-raising category, placing the heritage of the South Pennines and the work of its volunteers firmly on the European stage.