Morecambe Bay's £2m lottery bid to protect wildlife

Cocklers in Morecambe Bay (Picture courtesy of Morecambe Bay Partnership)
Image caption The Headlands to Headspace scheme aims to promote Morecambe Bay's landscape and wildlife

A bid for £2m of lottery money to be spent on a project to improve areas around Morecambe Bay, has cleared its first hurdle.

The Morecambe Bay Partnership's Headlands to Headspace scheme aims to improve appreciation of the bay.

This initial success is seen by the partnership as an indication of "positive support" from funders.

"We're proper chuffed about it and we're looking to get the bay nationally recognised", a spokeswoman said.

"It means they have put aside £2m for us, we've definitely got £100,000 for the next two years to develop the project further," Susannah Bleakley, from the partnership, said.

"As long as we can draw enough match funding and comply with their terms we've got the full two million and as far as I know when other people have reached this stage they haven't failed to draw down the full amount, we're not going to flunk it."

The proposals include making railway stations into hubs to access key sites, explore the traditions of fishing in the bay, linking the work done by Lancaster Maritime and Barrow Dock museums and getting local people to restore and reconnect wildlife habitats, protect the tidal islands and study birds and seals.

"There are 180 separate designated sites of importance for wildlife but they're not joined up, we want to use the likes of Sunderland Point which is an absolutely magic place, as a catalyst for further success," Susannah Bleakley added.

"Everyone's heard of Hadrian's Wall, York and Chester but has everyone heard of Morecambe Bay?

"At the end of this project we want to ensure the bay's natural heritage, wildlife habitat, outstanding landscape and cultural traditions are up there in people's minds and recognised as a nationally important place."

Morecambe Bay is the largest intertidal area in the UK where four estuaries join in a horseshoe-shaped bay.

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