27 May 2008
Using its knowledge of regeneration and environmental issues in Cumbria, the local office of WYG, consultants to the built, natural and social environment, has recently completed an exercise aimed at increasing eco tourism in the area.
Working on behalf the regional development agency, West Lakes Renaissance and The Land Restoration Trust, WYG acted in a multi-disciplinary capacity to provide a report showing a number of options for potential improvements at Hodbarrow, Millom Ironworks and Haverigg Dunes - three key conservation sites in the region.
The purpose of the exercise was to advise on the development of business and management plans which can be used to inform and help to shape decisions in relation to obtaining funding and to provide a ‘vision for the future’.
The sites, parts of which are of national significance, are home to many species such as rare natterjack toads and regionally scarce plants such as dark red helleborine.
Hodbarrow reserve incorporates the largest coastal open water body in the north west. It incorporates an artificial island, playing host to bird populations which, without proper management, could potentially be under threat.
Since its closure in 1968, the former ironworks site on the edge of Millom has been allowed to evolve and now forms an open area popular with local visitors.
Speaking about its role on the project, WYG’s associate, Peter Hambly said:
“In order to get this latest project for West Lakes Renaissance to this early stage in its evolution, our multi disciplinary role has called upon us to consult closely with existing management groups and businesses, analysing visitor numbers and undertaking site surveys, in order that we could develop a range of options for consideration."
“I believe it is the level of expertise and knowledge within the Cumbria office, coupled with our local knowledge of projects of this type, which sets WYG apart in Cumbria. I am confident that we have delivered sustainable, workable solutions and hope to continue our involvement into the next stages.”
Adding further comment on the project which will bring many community and environmental benefits including increasing tourism to the area, West Lakes Renaissance’s senior project manager, Ann-Marie Cowperthwaite added:
“WYG has presented a detailed document highlighting a number of options which include improvements to existing café, retail and information facilities at Haveriggs and designated footpaths/cycle routes within the Hodbarrow and Millom sites. These will now be considered. However, further consultations and design development we be required before deciding upon a final scheme.
“What is important is that any scheme we arrive at, is robust and, has the capacity to enhance the natural assets of the area to provide a lasting legacy for nature lovers and visitors, as well as further protecting the array of rare species, be they plants or animals, which live in the reserves.”
WYG is currently finalising a masterplanning study on behalf of West Lakes Renaissance for Millom which will identify further possible regeneration projects.