The management and development of the AONB depends on the many and varied projects carried out by the AONB Partnership.

Projects are delivered and funded by a wide variety of grants or Government Funding. Many of the designated sites in the AONB are dependent on funds coming from areas such as Countryside Stewardship income to the Heritage Lottery Fund.


The Solway Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme

The Solway Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme is a 4 year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, covering the area north of Allonby, Wigton and Kirkbampton and Rockcliffe Marsh, incorporating the Solway Coast AONB. It is currently in its first year, the development stage.

The project is the result of partnership work between Solway Coast AONB, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Natural England, Western Lake District Tourism, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, with advice from the Nation Farmers Union. As the project develops there will be further stakeholders in school groups, farmers and landowners, retailers and local community groups. By working with as many people as possible a legacy will be created that will ensure the future of the wetlands.

Its aims are to:

  • Improve the condition of the existing wetland sites, such as Bowness Common
  • Conserve the built and natural heritage of the area
  • Improve access to wetland sites
  • Provide more volunteering opportunities for local people to become involved in their surroundings
  • Provide training and apprenticeships in heritage skills and environmental conservation

To meet these aims there are 4 interlinked projects:

  • Local produce and branding - a feasibility study is underway to assess the viability of a Solway product brand to support the farmers that help to create this landscape. At present there are no producers that identify themselves with the characteristics of the Solway area even though there are fantastic distribution opportunities in Cumbria.
  • Heritage Centre - this will be a collection of local heritage memorabilia from local people that will tell a narrative of the area's history and aid understanding of its past and present.
  • Schools' wetland experience - Bowness Primary School is working towards a 'design a wetland competition' that will lead to the creation of a new wetland at Campfield Marsh, an RSPB site on Bowness Common. Along with an indoor space for learning this will be a schools resource for years to come.
  • Volunteering and apprenticeships - there will be a programme of heritage skills training and volunteering opportunities on the wetlands. Apprenticeships and placements based on heritage and the natural environment will also be available.

Solway Coast Power Line Undergrounding for Visual Amenity

A £65,000 project to underground power lines along the Solway Coast in Cumbria was completed in December 2014. The region’s power operator, Electricity North West removed seven electricity poles and 750m of overhead power lines between Mealo House and Heatherbank in Allonby which have been in place for more than 60 years.

The company, which has already removed 1.2km of overhead power lines in the area over the last year, worked alongside the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Natural England to successfully replace the power lines with around 800m of underground cable to improve views.

Mike Dugdale, programme delivery manager for Electricity North West, said: "This latest project on the Solway Coast showcases our commitment to working closely and investing in the fantastic communities in which we operate.

"We understand that power lines can stand out and we work with AONBs and National Park Authorities to consider schemes that will successfully improve the visual appearance of an area."

By removing the overhead lines and placing them underground the power company is also providing the local area with a more reliable and efficient supply of electricity as the new cables will not be susceptible to bad weather and strong winds.

The work completed, forms part of a £5.4m five-year project to replace lines identified as being most visually intrusive within the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the North West.

The AONB is pleased that even more power lines will continue to be removed from the Solway which will greatly enhance its beautiful coastline and the results of the partnership working will be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.


For the next three years, our Education programmes will be focusing on the Solway Wetlands, and sessions for schools, colleges and community groups will be delivered through the Solway Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme[IS1], a brand new and exciting Heritage Lottery funded partnership project based here with the AONB team at Silloth.

Outdoor fieldwork sessions can be delivered at many of our wetland sites on the Solway. These include Finglandrigg Wood, Bowness Common, Glasson Moss, Drumburgh Moss and Wedholme Flow. Collectively, these sites are nationally famous examples of lowland raised mire, a unique landscape and a very special habitat for plants and animals. Some workshops can also take place in your school.

Please contact us if you are interested in your school or group being involved. Alternatively, visit to keep up to date with the education programme. Topics covered include:

  • Wetland art
  • Wildlife and habitats
  • Investigating the local area and its heritage
  • Literacy and creative writing in the outdoors
  • Understanding environmental issues

Campfield Marsh Barn, a brand new Solway Wetland Centre housed in a carefully restored 19th century barn at Bowness Common, was opened in 2013. It includes a purpose-built education room, toilets, dedicated outdoor learning area and education programme. If you are interested in keeping updated about this, and our ongoing learning activities, please get in touch and join our mailing list.

Contact Chris Spencer, Education Officer by email at or by phone on 01697 333055.