Copeland launch new coastal ‘interpretation boards’

by Ken Powell Wednesday 26th August saw the perfect weather for a cycle ride. Just as well, as Copeland Borough Council chose to use the trusty two-wheelers to celebrate the […]

  • Rachel Holliday giving her opening speech (Source: D K Powell)
by Ken Powell

cycle final

The relay cyclists make it to St Bees in style! (Photo: Copeland Borough council)

Wednesday 26th August saw the perfect weather for a cycle ride. Just as well, as Copeland Borough Council chose to use the trusty two-wheelers to celebrate the official launch of their new coastal ‘interpretation boards’.

Diane Ward, from the council, explained the initiative as she busied herself handing out sticks of rock in St Bees to everyone who came to cheer on the cyclists.

“We wanted to celebrate the Copeland coastline so we’ve put up these interpretation boards from Millom right up to Lowca,” she said.

The cyclists journeyed in relay, the first leaving Millom at 10am, and passing on the baton to the next cyclist at Haverigg and so on for all 49 miles. They reached St Bees in the afternoon and finished at Lowca an hour or so later where the passed the baton on one final time to Mayor of Copeland, Mike Starkie.

Why bikes?

“We wanted to celebrate the whole coast,” Diane explained, “but cars aren’t very interesting and walking would take far too long!”

So what was the thinking behind putting up these boards at all?

“We wanted to share with visitors to the beaches the history of the area and why it is so important.”

The 11 boards provide historical and coastal facts, rubbing discs and audio soundtracks. In developing the new boards, the council consulted local communities, asking for stories they felt were important to share with Copeland’s coastal visitors. Various individuals and organisations gave their support including; Cumbrian Railway Association, Millom Discovery Centre, the Beacon Museum, Whitehaven News and the North West Evening Mail – who all gave use of old photographs. Cumbria Wildlife Trust, alongside volunteers, helped to identify various key species along the coastline.

Mike Starkie, Elected Mayor of Copeland, said: “the launch of the interpretation boards with the coastal cycle relay was a celebration of what the local communities have achieved working with Copeland Council. The boards reflect the unique nature of each community along the route which will be of interest to locals and visitors alike.  I’d like to thank all those who took part in the cycle relay and those who came out to cheer them along. Also many thanks to the community partners, finders and local volunteers for all their hard work and enthusiasm for this project.”