A new 81-mile cycle route crossing through Lancaster and Morecambe has been praised at a major tourism awards ceremony.
The Bay Cycle Way picked up a ‘Highly Commended’ medal at the finals ceremony for VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in Blackpool.
The route, which was developed by Sustrans and Morecambe Bay Partnership, runs from Glasson Dock in Lancaster to Walney Island, Cumbria.
Sustrans praised local volunteers in Lancashire and Cumbria for their help to launch the route, which opened in June 2015 and has already encouraged thousands of people to get out on their bikes to explore the stunning coastline and heritage of Morecambe Bay.
“It’s great to be recognised on a national level for our tourism attraction,” said Rosslyn Colderley, Sustrans England North Director.
“Ever since the launch of Bay Cycle Way last year the route has been really popular, inspiring lots of people to explore Morecambe Bay by bicycle. As a charity we rely on our volunteers in Lancashire, who really helped make our launch event special and who work with us to maintain this path for everyone to use, so particular thanks goes to them.”
Susannah Bleakley, of Morecambe Bay Partnership, said: “We’re so thrilled that the new Bay Cycle Way has been recognised through these national awards.
“A huge amount of effort went into its creation and we’d like to thank everyone involved for helping to make it possible, particularly the wonderful group of volunteers that not only helped to launch it but who have now ‘adopted’ the route and are now acting as its custodians.”
Bay Cycle Way (National Route 700) is the latest addition to Sustrans’ National Cycle Network – over 14,000 miles of cycle and walking routes across the country.
The route is designed to lead people on a leisurely cycle at their own pace, to enjoy the Bay’s wide open views, sample local food and find out about the area’s rich history and heritage.
It is particularly attractive to families and non-competitive cyclists as it can be done in small stage and has few hills.
The route was funded by the Coastal Communities Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Sustrans is a charity and manages many cycle routes across the UK including parts of the Sea to Sea and Hadrian’s Cycleway, some of which have suffered damage from flooding.
Winners were selected by a panel of tourism industry experts chaired by VisitEngland Board Member and Chief Executive of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, John Hoy.