Green winged orchids, the northern dune tiger beetle and the Duke of Burgundy butterfly; examples of flora and fauna which were once common around Morecambe Bay but in recent years have disappeared.
Now people living around the Bay are being invited to have their say as part of a project which could lead to local species reintroductions.
Back on Our Map has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has seen the recruitment of a small team of biologists at the University of Cumbria to work with partners including the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Forestry Commission to investigate possible sites where the natural history clock could be reset.
“Some species survive in isolation, including maidenhair fern on a wet Arnside rock face, whilst the majority are lost due to hunting, mismanagement, and habitat loss with the landscape impoverished and our experience of it contracted as a result,” project manager Jamie Hodge said. “Reintroductions or restorations could take place on Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserves such as Foulshaw Moss, Meathop Moss and Whitbarrow. The project may also work across Natural England sites, including the North Walney National Nature Reserve, and within the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding National Beauty.”
For the past three months researchers have surveyed the suitability of various habitats, and consulted with local and national species experts to identify where the project could bring maximum benefit; now the team are asking for opinions at a series of events to demonstrate interest and help focus on which species should be brought back should a second bid for funding be successful. An onlinesurvey has recently been launched where we hope to capture peoples’ views on wildlife and conservation.
“We’re really keen to get views from all walks of life, so as well as Countryfest and the Rusland Show we’re also going to Haverigg Prison and community growing spaces in Barrow-in-Furness to give as many people as possible the chance to hear more about the project and get involved,” Jamie added.
We will be running the following consultation events across the project area. These will take place from 10am – 4pm and will include opportunities to talk to the project team, ask questions, share knowledge and experience of local cultural and natural heritage, and take part in family-friendly (and fun!) growing activities and crafts. Contact Claire Cornish or James Hodge if you would like to know more.
- Grizedale Visitor Centre, Grizedale, Ambleside, LA22 0QN, (Saturday 23rd June)
- Castle Street Community Centre, 3 Castle St, Kendal, LA9 7AD (Saturday 28th July)
- Green Heart Den, 190 Marsh St, Barrow-in-Furness, (Saturday 4th August)
- Gaskell Hall, 17 Emesgate Ln, Silverdale, Carnforth, LA5 0RA (Saturday 11th August)
The project team will also be present at the following county shows.
- Ruslands Show, Whitestock Meadow, Rusland, LA12 8LB (Saturday 18th August)
- Hawkshead Show, Hawkshead Hall Farm, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0NN (Tuesday 21st August)
The online survey and other information can be found at cumbria.ac.uk/speciesproject
Pictured: Back on Our Map – the area covered by the project.
All pictures by Claire Cornish