THE Friends of Ilkley Moor are holding a celebration event on Saturday, April 15 to mark the start of the 'Big Ilkley Moor Survey' funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Friends were awarded the £50,000 grant in November last year for the two-year Nature for All project which will engage the local community in learning about and conserving the natural heritage of the water habitats on Ilkley Moor and the species which are dependent on these.

The celebration on April 15 will be a guided walk and talk for people to find out more about the project and how to get involved.

A spokesman for the Friends of Ilkley Moor said: "It is an opportunity to learn how you can help with valuable research, learn skills in carrying out standardised wildlife surveys, wildlife identification, biological recording and how to enter this onto AircGIS and AirGIS mobile apps in the field. We will explore and discover Ilkley Moor's biodiverse habitats and species for which the project will be focusing on."

The walk will start from Darwin Gardens car park at noon and follow a low and steady path to the lower tarn. The celebration will continue at 2.30pm at the Craiglands Hotel where refreshments will be provided, with the opportunity to view maps and ask any questions about the project and how to get involved. The event is suitable for push chairs and wheel chairs.

Speaking when the grant was awarded Tracy Gray, Ilkley Moor project officer, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will support the local community and students from schools and colleges to gain valuable skills, increasing their understanding about biodiversity conservation and help to conserve the natural heritage of Ilkley Moor’s water habitats.”

Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire and the Humber, Dr Fiona Spiers, said: “Few people realise every lottery ticket has the potential to save the UK’s landscapes, countryside and creatures, but the moors are as important a part of our heritage as Botticelli. This fantastic project will raise awareness of, and help conserve the open water habitats found on Ilkley Moor and the wildlife they support.”

More information can be obtained from The Friends 2017 Events & Learning Programme. The programmes are available to down load from the The Friends of Ilkley Moor website or from shops and cafes in the town.

There are over 30 events and walks contained in the programme from wildlife identification of water voles and otters to a Cup & Ring Trail. Events start this month and run until October.