Bid for £3m Solway coast wetlands project
Last updated at 20:54, Thursday, 17 November 2011
A £3 million project to develop the Solway coast’s wetlands could be launched in April.
The three-year project aims to provide new wetland habitats, create visitor centres at Holme Cultram Abbey and Bowness on Solway, provide training in traditional countryside skills and run an education programme.
A joint conference of the Solway Firth Partnership and Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Friday heard from Dr Brian Irving, manager of the AONB, who said the project would deliver 60 per cent of the organisation’s management plan.
The other 40 per cent is already being delivered by the group’s day-to-day work.
The project is being led by the AONB, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Cumbria Tourism and Natural England.
Subject to approval of a business plan, which must be submitted early next month, it will receive £1,864,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Another £389,000-worth of funding and resources will come from volunteers, with the rest coming from other grants and internal funds.
The project will include work to return drained agricultural fields to wetlands for breeding birds; show people how the landscape has been developed from marshland, beginning with the monks of Abbeytown; run training in crafts like dry stone walling and hedge laying; and educate locals and visitors about the history of the Solway.
The group will find out in March whether its bid has been successful and if it is the community will be involved in shaping what is done.
Dr Irving said: “The project has been in my head for 10 years and there’s a real need to do it in the joined up way we are doing.”
Bill Jefferson, chairman of the Solway Coast AONB, told the conference: “We have a shared responsibility for this magic stretch of water.”
More than 160 people attended the conference at the Wave Centre in Maryport.
Over the past year the partnership has been raising awareness and understanding of its work through international events, appointing extra staff and seeking extra funding.
It has also supported sustainable fisheries and looked to maintain, protect and improve coastal beauty by looking for new opportunities on both sides of the Solway Firth.
The keynote speech was given by Professor Ted Cowan, professor of Scottish history at Glasgow University, who spoke on the culture of the Solway frontier.
First published at 19:24, Thursday, 17 November 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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