Morecambe Bay

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Morecambe Bay at low tide from Hest Bank, looking towards Grange-over-Sands
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Morecambe Bay at low tide from Hest Bank, looking towards Grange-over-Sands

Morecambe Bay is a large bay in northern England, with the largest area of intertidal mudflats and sand in the United Kingdom. Towns on the bay include Barrow-in-Furness, Ulverston, Grange-Over-Sands, Morecambe, and Heysham. It is just to the south of the Lake District National Park.

The rivers Leven, Kent, Keer, Lune and Wyre drain into the Bay.

Morecambe Bay is an important wildlife site, with abundant bird life and varied marine habitats, and there is a bird observatory at Walney Island.

The bay is also notorious for its quicksand and fast moving tides (it is said that the tide can come in as fast as a horse can run). There have been royally appointed local guides for crossing the bay for centuries.

In 1974 gas was discovered offshore, and development of the Morecambe Bay gas field began several years later.

The bay has rich cockle beds, which have been fished by locals for generations. In 2004, at least 21 Chinese immigrant cockle pickers drowned after being cut off by the tides. This incident led to some suggestions that the cockle beds should be closed until improved safety measures could be enacted.

It was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders as one of the wonders of the North.

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