Test ride for new cycle way around Morecambe Bay

Wed, 2014-09-17 09:35

Local people and cycling enthusiasts cycled for four days over the last week, through some of the unique cultural and heritage spots of Morecambe Bay as part of the preparations for a new long distance cycle route around the Bay, developed by Sustrans and Morecambe Bay Partnership.

Around 28 people registered to test out the proposed new route and provide feedback which will help the team finalise plans for the new cycle way that will give the best experience for visitors to take their time and enjoy everything the Bay has to offer. Participants included Morecambe Bay Partnership supporters, Sustrans volunteers, local businesses, local families and the media.

The proposed new 100 mile Bay Cycle Way from Walney Island to Glasson Dock will officially launch next year and is aimed at families who want to explore the area and move along at their own pace, stop off to drink in the awesome views, sample mouth-watering food and see the Bay’s history and heritage come alive.

The Bay Cycle Way will link existing traffic-free routes and quiet lanes and lead visitors through the distinctive culture, wildlife and food of the area, including tourist attractions such as Conishead Priory, Morecambe’s art deco hotel The Midland, sticky toffee pudding capital Cartmel, the RSPB’s wildlife haven at Leighton Moss, historic Lancaster and Glasson Dock.

It will take cyclists past stunning views and headlands across the Bay, with a chance to detour on a guided walk across the sands, pause to watch wildlife such as the seals at Walney, or get a glimpse of rare birds like ospreys or red kites.

The route builds on the existing cycle network developed by Sustrans as part of theNational Cycle Network, which now totals some 14,700 miles of cycle and walking routes throughout the UK. Once the cycleway is finalised, distinctive signs will be put in place to reflect the unique character of the area and to guide visitors along the way.  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.

Sustrans Area Manager Nikki Wingfield said:

“Morecambe Bay has its very own distinctive character, with incredible views, world class historic sites and artefacts, traditional food and rare wildlife. We have planned lots of opportunities to stop – there’s a loo, a brew and a view every 10 miles!”

The development of the Bay Cycle Way is part of Morecambe Bay Partnership's Coastal Communities funded 700 Days Scheme and their Heritage Lottery funded Headlands to Headpsace Scheme. 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 route promises a wonderful experience for both visitors and local communities, will help to bring lots of new visitors to the Bay, creating a boost to the local economy.”

The test ride for the Bay Cycle Way started on 12 September at Sandy Gap on Walney Island and finished on 15 September at Glasson Dock. The route included stops at Gleaston Water Mill, Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Humphrey Head, Grange over Sands, Levens Hall, Arnside, Leighton Moss RSPB nature reserve, Carnforth, Morecambe, and Lancaster.

Images copyright Susannah Bleakley

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