Guiding Principles

The Colourful Coast is a partnership of organisations and community groups caring for the rich ecology and complex history of the clifftops and shores from Whitehaven to St Bees, for everyone to enjoy.

Our guiding principles are:

  1. This is a really extraordinary coastline – nationally significant – and we need to ensure it is not lost to unmanaged inappropriate development or neglect;
  2. The Colourful Coast area contains many individual places with different histories and characters, but also has a strong sense of collective identity and specialness[i]. The Colourful Coast incorporates both Whitehaven and St Bees, and the area in between and out to sea; it roughly maps onto the area of sandstone sometimes locally referred to as “Preston Isle” and fully includes the St Bees Head Heritage Coast along with its proposed extension.
  3. The specialness comes from the range of both natural and historical heritage: marine, terrestrial, intertidal and subterranean.
  4. We recognise that alongside the physical assets of this coast that it is important for us to care for and celebrate the many intangible qualities that the area has: the stories (both true and fictional) of its people and their memories, feelings and imaginations; the impact of the open views, the light, the sound of sea and wind; the connections between land and sea.
  5. We need to preserve, maintain and improve the high levels of accessibility to and along this coastline: visually, culturally, emotionally and physically; we need to maintain the access between land and sea. We need to ensure access to information as well as place.
  6. The area has always changed, often unpredictably. It is not “unspoilt”. We shouldn’t seek to stop change (either human, natural or climate) but should look to influence positively; to be open-minded and adapt to the opportunities that change presents for the heritage, wildlife, people and economy.
  7. People are part of the history of this landscape and must be part of the future. As a partnership we should listen to what local people want, need and value – not impose answers and decisions from outside; but also we recognise that outside help may be needed to help make things happen[ii]. Our aspiration is for greater local community involvement within the partnership.

The management of an area so rich and varied and with such fragmented land ownership cannot be done by a single issue group or single perspective; it can only be achieved by us working in partnership.