A BID for £1.5 million is being made to support an initiative intended to boost the tourism potential of the Wye Valley.

The Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is hoping to get the money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If successful, they claim that money already secured will enable an investment of more than £2 million in the area.

The money would be spent on interpreting the history and archaeology of the area, restoring and managing viewpoints and historic sites and making them easier for visitors to get to.

"Our research shows 80 per cent of visitors only stay in the area for a day.

"I am sure that when they realise the wealth of heritage sites here they will stay longer," said Andrew Blake, of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"All this means increased visitor spend in the area and a boost for the local economy."

The "Overlooking the Wye" project will be focused on 40 sites and be based upon the themes of the Iron Age, picturesque and romance, the industrial revolution and the river as a transport corridor.

After a period of consultation, the bid will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in September.