A MAJOR project to create a new floating jetty and improve access to Windermere’s western shore is underway.

The exciting new development will see a new jetty at Bark Barn near Belle Grange from Easter 2014, proving direct access to this part of the shoreline for family walking and cycling for the first time.

It will also link up with the Windermere West Shore Cycle Trail and routes to and from Wray Castle.

The overall aim is to encourage more people to explore one of the Lakes’ busiest tourist spots by water rather than by road and is all part of a partnership between the GoLakes Travel programme, the National Trust and South Lakeland District Council.

The jetty will be a handy stop-off point for private vessels, ranging from small dinghies to larger boats, and Windermere Lake Cruises has offered to operate a passenger and cycle service to the jetty in summer 2014.

The new jetty is being designed by Walcon, a worldwide leader in the design, construction and installation of marinas and berthing facilities.

The Bark Barn jetty will be constructed in Portsmouth, before arriving in Cumbria in the next couple of weeks. It will then be craned onto Windermere at Lakeside, before being transported up England’s longest lake and installed ahead of the 2014 summer holiday season.

Steve Ratcliffe, director of planning and management at the Lake District National Park Authority, said: “This is one of the biggest infrastructure projects being supported through the GoLakes Travel programme and is a great incentive for more people to leave their cars at home and explore the area by boat.

"Not only will this facility help ease traffic congestion and reduce harmful carbon emissions, but it will enhance the world-class visitor experience on offer by giving both visitors and locals a completely new perspective on England’s longest lake.

"As well as linking in with scenic family walking routes along the western shore, there are plenty of options for easy cycling to Claife Heights and Wray Castle. Hawkshead is also within easy reach.”

South Lakeland District Councillor, Sue Sanderson, portfolio holder for environment and people, said: “At South Lakeland District Council we want to play our part in increasing access to the western shore of the lake by providing visitors, local people and developers with high quality access points.

“The floating jetty at Bark Barn will be the first of a network of new jetties on Windermere. It will be a great introduction to this unspoiled location and to the cycle trail by the lake. If you’re on a day out it will be a real adventure to take a boat and explore on foot or by bike.”