Earlier this year we (Creative Concern) were lucky enough to work with the Morecambe Bay Partnership and our good friend and collaborator James Rebanks on the Partnership's Heritage Lottery Fund bid 'Headlands to Headspace'. Today it's been officially announced that they've won the bid and have been allocated £2 million through the Landscape Partnership programme.
The aim of the scheme is to help local people come together and maximise the opportunity offered by the inspiring views, landscape features, heritage and wildlife of the Bay. This will include projects to celebrate the Bay's unique cultural heritage and stunning landscapes, restore and reconnect wildlife habitats, protect the tidal islands, develop the railway stations as hubs to access key sites and support support education projects and oral history looking at the traditions of fishing in the Bay.
It's this last bit - the area's social history - that unearthed a real gem for me, an old bit of documentary footage of shrimpers roaring across the Bay in the 1930s, their carts (and horses) at some points almost completely engulfed by the sea; amazing.
Morecambe Bay is rich in heritage of this sort, but it's got a slightly left field side to it too. There's something about the patterns of the sand, the windswept trees, the slightly unexpected art projects and the toppled, incongruous gun emplacements that makes the whole package totally distinctive. The best bet is to get up there and check it out for yourself, starting with a cocktail in the Midland Hotel would be a good idea.
|Humphrey Head by Jon Sparks|
Finally, the Headlands to Headspace project wouldn't have come off unless it had been steered by the awesome force of nature that is the Partnership's co-ordinator, Susannah Bleakley, or if it hadn't been given a glorious shove by the likes of the Mersey Basin Campaign, Regional Parks Exchange and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.
It's projects like this that should remind us that when it comes to big, connected and beautiful landscapes, regions work; someone might like to mention this to Mr Pickles.