<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

A look at the work of the Morecambe Bay Partnership

PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 July 2017

Views from the Bay Cycle Way

Views from the Bay Cycle Way

Morecambe Bay Partnership

Passionate locals are helping to spread the word about the glories of Morecambe Bay. Paul Mackenzie reports.

An electric bike on the Bay Cycle Way An electric bike on the Bay Cycle Way

Morecambe Bay covers an area of 120 square miles, has a coastline of more than 60 miles and is the UK’s second largest bay, and the largest expanse of intertidal mudflats and sand. It is vitally important to birds and hosts hundreds of thousands of waders, gulls and wildfowl every year. About 10 per cent of the UK’s salt marsh is here and five rivers drain into it.

But the bald facts can never do justice to the beauty and grandeur of the bay, which is one of the natural wonders of Lancashire. The breathtaking, ever-changing views, the vast skies, seemingly endless shimmering sands and sweeping seascapes make this a special place for visitors and those lucky enough to live by it.

But not everyone has a positive view of the bay. For some, it will always be associated with the tragic deaths of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in 2004. For others, it is a place not to be explored, but to be glimpsed from a distance and at speed as they head north to the Lake District, or south to the county’s great cities.

Now though, efforts are being made to make more people aware of the bay and what it has to offer. The Morecambe Bay Partnership is a charity founded in the 1990s in response government austerity measures.

Looking across Morecambe Bay Looking across Morecambe Bay

Initially the members put pressure on local authorities to keep the bay in their minds and to take on projects but in recent years – in the wake of further funding cuts – they have delivered more projects themselves.

Executive director Susannah Bleakley has been involved with the group for more than 20 years and said: ‘We really want to improve the image of the bay. The people who love it know it’s magnificent but people from outside have few connections with the area. We would really like people to have a more positive image and to give them more reasons to visit as well as networks of things for people to do.’

Susannah is originally from Bolton but now has views across the bay from her home at the head of the Lyth Valley. She worked for oil giants Shell before moving to the Partnership. ‘The work we do is around the heritage, environment and archaeology of the bay as well as projects to encourage people to come to the bay,’ she said.

‘The scale and grandeur of the views is the unique selling point of the bay. They are nourishing. People climb mountains for big views but here you don’t need to, you can get a sense of being lifted above the troubles of the every day. These views help put things in perspective. Wherever you are there are incredible landscapes, seascapes or skyscapes which can be refreshing, relaxing and inspiring. There are always new things to explore and new ways to explore them.

‘A part of our role is to do what is called “place making”, drawing attention to the bay and helping people to recognise what is special about the area and to turn indifference into a great source of pride. People tend to be unimpressed by what they know and what is familiar to them. In an area like Norfolk much of the coast is classified as a nature reserve which immediately marks it out as being of enormous importance but Morecambe Bay is every bit as important, even though it is not all nature reserves.’

The Partnership, which now has ten staff, three of them full-time, has worked on scores of projects concerned with the wildlife, history and tourism around the bay. They are keen to promote Love My Beach which aims to improve the cleanliness of the sands and bathing waters, and among their recent successes is the Bay Cycle Way which is due to see seven hire points, each with four electric bikes and chargers unveiled this month.

‘Cycling has gone through an incredible growth but all the existing routes were not for mere mortals – they were all tough, hilly routes that were very demanding,’ said Susannah. ‘Most of the Bay Cycle Way is flatter, it’s like an entry level route for families.

‘It’s route 700 on the national cycle network and it brings a lot of people from around the north west and further afield. In its first two years the route map has been the fastest selling of all the national cycle network maps – it has had to be re-printed.’

The Partnership has also worked with local people and artists to create a series of maps which give a unique insight into the places, landmarks and stories around the bay. The Seldom Seen maps, which are available online or in shops around the bay, include pictures and information suggested by locals.

And while maps may be old technology, the Partnership is embracing new technology, too.

They already have a number of guided walks on free smartphone apps. Susannah added: ‘We would love there to be a single place for visitors to come and hear the stories of the bay but we are cautious of seeking to do something along the lines of a museum or visitor centre in the current climate. In Lancashire some very difficult decisions are being made about the future of places like that.

‘We are very interested in alternative ways of doing things such as apps that can bring the views alive with stories and we are exploring ideas around a folk museum which could possibly be displayed in different locations, libraries and other public places.’

To find out more about the Morecambe Bay Partnership’s work, campaigns and training courses, go online to morecambebay.org.uk or follow them on twitter @_MBay.

More from Out & About

Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Monday, February 12, 2018

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Southport
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Colne
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDY KITCHING

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Canals
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Spring
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

John Lenehan selects a relatively gentle walk to blow away the post-Christmas cobwebs

Read more
Ribble Valley Walks
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search