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Powering up in Arnside

Posted 7 March 2012
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Powering up in Arnside
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Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are in some ways the poor relations of the national parks. The environmental protection levels afforded are less and their profile is nowhere near as high.

Another issue is that of location. There are some AONBs that lie in distinct areas away from national parks, such as the Gower Peninsula or Cannock Chase. These might enjoy more visits than those adjacent to national parks.

The Arnside and Silverdale AONB is one of the latter areas, adjoining the south-eastern edge of the Lake District. None of it is set to be included in the proposed expansion of the national park boundary - although the area around Sizergh lies not far too the north. But it is still a placethat can easily be bypassed as visitors speed by on their way to Kendal and then Windermere.

But Arnside and Silverdale has its own qualities, notably the wetlands around Morecambe Bay that provide a habitat for a number of bird species, while red squirrels can often be spotted.

And the AONB has just received two major boosts, which those who like to go walking there may enjoy.

The visual environment is set to be enhanced by a £137,000 project by North West Electricity that will see overhead power lines removed and placed underground, the Westmorland Gazette reports.

And this follows hard on the heels of a deal that will see the Morecambe Bay area become one of England's first Nature Improvement Areas, meaning the area is set to get a grant of £600,000.

The cash will go to a partnership of which the AONB is one member, alongside organisations like The RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Morecambe Bay Partnership, Forestry Commission, Natural England and local government bodies - plus others. This will ensure habitats are maintained and encourage community involvement.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: "The exciting wildlife projects are the result of different organisations all working together with a common purpose - to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come."

All this may mean walkers enjoying Arnside and Silverdale - either alone or alongside the south-east corner of the Lake District - may be rewarded for generations to come for their recognition that the national parks are not alone in offering wonderful landscapes to enjoy.ADNFCR-2803-ID-801311392-ADNFCR