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.