Join celebrations for new Morecambe Bay cycle way

5 May 2015

Morecambe Bay will host a four-day bicycle extravaganza from 11-14 June for local people to celebrate the opening of a new long distance cycle route around the Bay, which has been developed by the charity Sustrans and Morecambe Bay Partnership.

Everyone is welcome to join an inaugural cycle ride through the 100-mile Bay Cycle Way from Walney Island to Glasson Dock. The new path includes many traffic-free sections and is aimed at families and leisure cyclists who want to go at their own pace to explore the distinctive culture, wildlife and food of the area. It winds its way past tourist attractions such as Conishead Priory, Morecambe’s art deco hotel The Midland, sticky toffee pudding capital Cartmel and the RSPB’s wildlife haven at Leighton Moss.

Organisers are appealing for volunteers to help lead family bicycle rides on and around the new path, run cycle activities and stalls and join in final celebrations at Glasson Dock, near Lancaster on 14 June. There will be a series of led rides which are free, but with limited places. Anyone can join the launch and receive maps and information when it starts at Walney Island to cycle along all or a section of the route, and enjoy the attractions and events to open the new route.

The Bay Cycle Way is the latest addition to Sustrans’ National Cycle Network – over 14,000 miles of cycle and walking routes across the country. The launch event is part of activities across the country to mark the Network’s 20th anniversary.

The Bay Cycle Way encourages cyclists to take their time and stop to drink in the awesome views, sample mouthwatering food and see the Bay’s history and heritage come alive. Visitors will travel past stunning views and headlands across the Bay, with a chance to detour to see the stunning ruins of Furness Abbey, pause to watch wildlife such as the seals at Walney, or get a glimpse of rare birds like ospreys or avocet. A series of loops and spurs off the route, which take in even more of this special area, are also in early stages of development.
The signed path will link existing traffic-free routes and quiet lanes and lead visitors through the distinctive culture, wildlife and food of the area, including Gleaston Water Mill, Ulverston, Humphrey Head, Grange–over-Sands, Levens Hall, Arnside and Silverdale AONB, Carnforth, Morecambe, and Lancaster.

The route can be done either in stages as day trips or as part of a longer visit that will uncover the secrets of the Bay’s stunning land and seascape in an inspiring natural environment.
Sustrans’ Cumbria Area Manager Nikki Wingfield said: “Morecambe Bay is a unique landscape famous for its fascinating history, unique food, and rare wildlife and we want to celebrate this with a four-day series of events to launch our new cycle path. This is a great chance to explore the hidden secret assets of the Bay slowly, at your own pace, and join in with one of the many activities and rides along the 100-mile route. Please book now if you want to go on one of the free led rides as they are likely to be popular, and if you’d like to volunteer to get involved we would love to hear from you!”

The development of the Bay Cycle Way is part of Morecambe Bay Partnership's Heritage Lottery Funded Headlands to Headspace Scheme and Coastal Communities Funded 700 Days to Transform the Bay Schemes. The Schemes will support over 260 tourism-related jobs and safeguard many thousands more. As well as bringing the Bay Cycle Way to Morecambe Bay, the funding will be used to develop maps, trails and apps to improve information for visitors to Morecambe Bay and provide over 300 training places to support tourism businesses in the Bay area. 
 
Janet Barton of Morecambe Bay Partnership said: “The launch of the Bay Cycle Way is a really exciting development for the Morecambe Bay area.  Visitors to the area will be able to experience the many wonders of this special place at a relaxed pace, taking in stunning views and sampling local produce and hospitality.  Bringing cycling tourists to the Bay area will help to support and strengthen our visitor economy, creating and safeguarding jobs.”
 
If you would like to join the launch celebrations for the Bay Cycle Way or volunteer to help with the activities please contact Abigail Pound at Sustrans on T: 0161 923 6050 e: abigail.pound@sustrans.org.uk or Morecambe Bay Partnership on T: 01539734888 e: info@morecambebay.org.uk.

For more information about the proposed new cycle way or Morecambe Bay Partnership look up www.morecambebay.org.uk and to book on led rides during the opening event look up http://www.morecambebay.org.uk/events/bay-cycle-way-launch-ride

For more information about the National Cycle Network and Sustrans look up http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/national-cycle-network

ENDS
 
For out of office hours contact the Sustrans’ Press Office on 0207 7807 231
 
Notes to editors
 
• Sustrans is the charity that’s enabling people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more of the journeys we make every day. It’s time we all began making smarter travel choices. Make your move and support Sustrans today. www.sustrans.org.uk

•        We want to see a safer school run. We believe that every child has the right to walk, cycle or scoot to school. To bring about this change, we need government to make dedicated funding available, commit to lower traffic speeds, and transform local walking and cycling routes. Together, we can make our streets safer. Join the campaign at www.sustrans.org.uk/saferstreets

• •       Morecambe Bay Partnership is a small organisation making big things happen in the Morecambe Bay area. We are a place based organisation with the aim of securing resources that will bring jobs and growth to the area.  Our target for the next 5 years is to secure £10m of investment that will create or safeguard over 8,000 jobs, increasing visitor numbers by 3% equating to an increase in the visitor economy of Morecambe Bay of £15m by 2016.

• •       The Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) aims to encourage the economic development of UK coastal communities by awarding funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs. Since the start of the CCF in 2012 grants have been awarded to 104 organisations across the UK to the value of £53.6 million. This funding is forecast to deliver 7,655 jobs and help attract around £90 million of additional funds to coastal areas. The Big Lottery Fund is delivering the CCF on behalf of UK Government and the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

•  700 Days to Transform the Bay – This £0.5 million Morecambe Bay Partnership Scheme will support over 260 tourism-related jobs and safeguard many thousands more. The funding will be used to connect and sign a  ‘Bay Cycle Way’, deliver events, develop trails and apps to improve information for visitors and provide over 300 training places to support tourism businesses. The Scheme title ‘700 Days to transform the Bay’ reflects that there is just two years to deliver.

• 700 Days will create new opportunities for visitors from near and far to explore and enjoy this fascinating area.  Focusing on four clusters around the Bay, the Scheme aims to develop a distinctive, yet diverse offer within each cluster, and support the marketing of a more compelling destination. We want to bring more visitors who stay longer, travel sustainably, spend more, and repeat their visits.

• The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) gives grants to sustain and transform our heritage that will make a lasting difference for heritage and people. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions HLF invests in every part of our diverse heritage. The Landscape Partnerships programme is for schemes led by partnerships of local, regional and national interests which aim to conserve areas of distinctive landscape character throughout the UK.

• Headlands to Headspace (H2H) is a major initiative for Morecambe Bay Partnership, funded by HLF and motivated by a community desire to protect and celebrate the Bay’s rich heritage. This exciting Scheme will deliver training, improve access, and present the Bay’s heritage in fresh, new ways. It will bring local people and new audiences together by delivering engaging activities, high quality events and meaningful volunteering opportunities. All in all, it will significantly improve understanding of the natural and cultural heritage and help conserve that heritage for future generations. In so doing, it will bring new visitors, increase pride, and raise aspiration among the community.

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