Money from the National Lottery is being ploughed into projects to get people in town more connected with nature and have better access to the countryside.

They include four major London schemes at the historic Highgate Cemetery and Broomfield Park in north London, a “green chain” of ponds along the southbank from Lambeth to Bexley and opening public access to the Roding River in east London.

The Friends of Highgate Cemetery Trust get £105,700 towards a £6.7 million grant to conserve heritage, promote biodiversity and improve public access to this Grade I-registered site.

The historic burial grounds at Swain’s Lane in Highgate Village, where Karl Marx is famously buried, continues as working cemetery while remaining as a sanctuary for the public to “connect with nature and reflect on life for generations to come”.

Enfield Council is earmarked to get £3.7 million to establish Southgate’s Broomfield Park as a flagship open place to inspire sustainable living, with opportunities for communities to take part in its upkeep.

Another project is the new ‘London Blue Chain’ along the South Bank. Froglife wildlife charity gets £573,000 to restore freshwater habitats that encourages sustained growth of amphibian and reptile populations across south London.

The new chain of 100 ponds will run along the historic 52-mile ‘London Green Chain’ walking route, linking open spaces in Lambeth, Southwark, Bermondsey, Greenwich, Woolwich and out to Bexley. This creates wildlife corridors in housing estates, schools and allotments, with volunteering, workshops and even festivals in the pipeline.

The ‘Roding Rises’ project is set to get £1.5 million to connect areas along the banks of the Roding river. It also opens the Essex countryside to communities in Clayhall, Woodford, Redbridge, Ilford, Manor Park, East Ham, Barking and Beckton, while encouraging them to help restore this neglected river.  

Funding is also allocated to greenspaces elsewhere across the UK, such a ‘Garden Fit For a King’ to restore Brighton’s historic Royal Pavilion’s unique Regency garden and the Heritage Museum at St Andrew’s, north of Edinburgh, to improve public access.

Four other projects getting Lottery Heritage cash are the Peak District, North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales national parks and new walking trails in Belfast.

The Heritage Fund has awarded £2  billion since 1994 to 4,700 nature schemes, thanks to National Lottery players whose money is helping the conservation of Britain’s unique landscapes and biodiversity.