A TINY songbird is leading the charge for national recognition as a South Pennines project bids for a TV cash prize.

Judges have selected the Watershed Landscape Project as a finalist for the televised National Lottery Awards at the end of October.

And supporters of the South Pennines initiative are now urging Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale viewers to pledge their backing.

One of the principal aims of the four-year Watershed scheme has been to restore the habitat of the Pennine finch, otherwise known as the Twite.

Moorlands above Burnley, around Hurstwood and Cliviger, are one of the few nesting sites for the threatened species.

Other aims include improving access to the uplands through a series of new cycle paths and walking trials.

Under the environmental project category for the awards, they will be up against Harvest Brighton and Hove, a south-coast gardening programme, and Community Space Challenge, which offers environment work to young people.

The winning entry will secure a £2,000 prize.

Pam Warhurst, Pennine Prospects chairman, said: “Volunteers are at the core of this project - guiding, inspiring and carrying out landscape restoration.

“Winning an award would recognise their toil and passion for the uplands at the highest level.”

Just this week volunteers have been sowing seeds across the moorland, a vital food source for the twite.

Trails have also been created in Hurstwood and a number of walks and talks have highlighted the area’s barren beauty.

In March 2010 the Watershed work, which is supported by Lancashire County Council, was given £1.9million by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The voting for the awards continues until October 28 and can be accessed via www.lotterygoodcauses.co.uk