WORK has started on a project to encourage people to connect with nature on the Walney Island coast.

The Earnse Bay project aims to provide a platform for everyone to explore the wonders of nature on their doorstep, Natural England says.

Earnse Bay will be one of four sites developed within the Community Hubs project, which is part of the Brilliant Barrow programme.

By hosting and promoting recreational activities, including art-based workshops, it is hoped that the community can celebrate and connect with their local habitat around the bay, and with the creatures that have made this stretch of coastline their home, Natural England says.

Plans, including the building of a community space – which is due to open in 2026 – are currently being finalised by Westmorland and Furness Council. A number of taster activities are set to take place there throughout the summer.

MP for Barrow and Furness Simon Fell said: “I’m delighted that work has started on this fantastic project, which is all about encouraging people to get out and explore their surroundings and connect with nature.

“Earnse Bay will be one of four sites developed through the Government’s £25million Town Deal for Barrow, showcasing what we have on our doorstep, and ensuring that Barrow continues to thrive as a great place to live, work and also visit.”

Other locations alongside Earnse Bay set to benefit from funding include Ormsgill, Barrow Island, and Barrow Town Centre. Brilliant Barrow secured £25 million in regeneration funding from the Government’s Towns Fund for seven projects across the town.

In the meantime, the Earnse Project will enter into a one-year development phase, funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF), which will focus on long-term project planning with the local community.

Deputy Director for Natural England for Cumbria Helen Kirkby said: “Together with our partners, we will make sure the people of Barrow can experience and cherish the beauty of Earnse Bay and its incredible wildlife.

“The Earnse Project vision is one where nature and community thrive in harmony, and we are looking forward to this exciting journey of discovery.”