Save Roanhead

Roanhead is a beautiful area of unspoilt and undeveloped coast on the protected Duddon Estuary. It’s to the north of Barrow-in-Furness, by Sandscale Haws nature reserve. 

It has also been called “the second worst environmental disaster in Cumbria”. 

Roanhead is the jewel in the crown of the Furness peninsula, a very special place for local people. It’s home to an incredible variety of wildlife with many endangered and rare species. 

Roanhead is NOT the right place for sprawling holiday resorts with swimming pools, sports and leisure facilities, spas, shops, bars and restaurants. 

Two developers have applied for permission to build holiday resorts at Roanhead. These are:

Local people and conservation organisations are working together to persuade Westmorland & Furness Council to protect Roanhead from inappropriate development. 

The Save Roanhead group are encouraging people who care about Roanhead to object to the two 'live' applications, via the council planning process. These are the applications with reference numbers shown in the key on the map.
This map also shows 'screening applications' for a solar farm and another holiday park application. These aren't at the stage where the public can lodge objections, so our focus is on stopping plans for the two holiday parks.

Rare species at Roanhead

Roanhead is a stronghold for a quarter of the UK’s entire population of endangered natterjack toads. Roanhead and Sandscale Haws are an important habitat for 600 flowering plant species and over 500 species of fungi. Rare bee orchids and coral root orchids grow here. Plovers and lapwings nest and attempt to breed close to Roanhead crag. Curlews and oystercatchers feed on land which developers want to bulldoze and build holiday parks on.

Save Roanhead is a local campaign group working hard to save endangered species at Roanhead. We’re doing everything we can to preserve this refuge for nature, for future generations. 

We are objecting to holiday park proposals for Roanhead alongside all of our local and national conservation organisations.

Over the past twenty years, I have followed an acorn, walking all of the UK's National Trails and, more recently, the coastlines of Wales and England. Last year, while walking around the Cumbrian Coast, I came across the Roanhead campaign. I would like to add a perspective supporting your work. As a walker and a writer, I connect with the natural world and have experienced many landscapes. You seek to protect something unique.

Turning the corner at Sandscale Haws, you are presented with one of England's most beautiful coastal vistas. Like St. Ives, in Cornwall, or the North Norfolk Coastline, the light that falls with a northern beach is rare, a light that has attracted artists over the centuries. In the case of Roanhead, it is even rarer to have the backdrop of the Lakeland Fells. Of all the walking I have done, exploring every nook and cranny of the coastline of the UK, this landscape is unique and should be protected. As I made the turn, avoiding plover eggs on the tide line, I couldn't help marvelling at the panorama's colours and composition. The meandering creeks and sands in the foreground, the rising hills to the fells as a background, all cast in the arc of a southern light that reveals detail and texture.

My journeys frequently pass through many static caravan estates, which have been obstacles to developing the King Charles III England Coast Path. In some cases, access to the coastal margins—a precious public space—has been denied for the sake of private interests. While this might not be the case at Roanhead, I am concerned that the developers' business case will not fully account for the cost of damage to the natural landscape, its ecology, and the environment due to increased demands on infrastructure and utility services. Their concern is profit, yet they fail to pay for the value of the environment, the very reason people are attracted to the area.

Such developments must be sensitive to these issues, as encapsulated in biodiversity planning regulations and policy in the 2021 Environment Act, but in the case of Roanhead, they should go further, recognising this environment's unique, irreplaceable character. I wish your campaign every success and hope to write in more detail in my future work as I come across similar coastal challenges around our wonderful coastline. 

Martyn Howe - Author, walker.

We're grateful to Friends of the Lake District who have been brilliant in everything they do, and are a key ally in our campaign to save Roanhead.

You can read all about their plans at

It won't benefit local people - this will harm our community

Our town centre needs investment - but not this

Will rich tourists head in to Barrow to see the sights? 

Sadly, no, they won't.

We live here. We KNOW.