BIDDERS will have the chance to snap up a piece of Furness history when a four-mile stretch of Morecambe Bay coastline goes under the hammer tonight.

The narrow strip of shoreline from Peasholme Lane, Roosebeck, near Barrow, to Sea Wood, Bardsea, near Ulverston, has been split into five lots and will be sold separately by auctioneer Howard Whitaker.

The foreshore, part of Morecambe Bay’s Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is no wider than 20 metres but holds a significant amount of Furness history.

It is believed that the title of the land dates back to William the Conqueror, before it was passed onto the first Baron le Fleming, whose family and ancestors owned large amounts of Cumbrian land in the 12th and 13th centuries.

John Poole and wife, Caroline Evans, acquired areas of the beach when they bought the Moat Farm equestrian centre from the Aldingham Crown estate 18 months ago.

“It’s a lovely piece of a land and a great chance to own a piece of Furness history,” he said. “It was part and parcel of the equestrian centre but we don’t want it.”

Mr Whitaker confirmed that nearby plots had sold for around £3,000 but added there would be no guide price on the night.

He said: “In my 46 years of auctioneering I have never seen anything like this. “This will give bidders a chance to walk away with their hands on something truly special.

“The money expected is very much within the pockets of locals but I imagine there will be interest from afar too.”

The biggest lots are at Baycliff, which offers 1,130 metres of Morecambe Bay shoreline, and 3,200 metres of foreshore stretching from Newbiggin to Goadsbarrow and Roosebeck.

But the auction has prompted concerns from some residents who say it could compromise future access to the beach.

Geraldine Green, who lives in Ulverston, said: “I’m just seeking reassurance and clarification that the beach won’t be cut off to the public.

“We often take a nice long walk on the Furness coastline for granted.”

Mr Poole reassured residents that because the land was part of Morecambe Bay’s SSSI, it would be nearly impossible to get planning permission for permanent structures.

He said: “It could however be used for temporary accommodation; tents, camping vans, that sort of thing. Some people have suggested mooring boats or even boat houses there.”

Mr Whitaker also confirmed that public access to the foreshore could be impeded, no matter who bought it.

The auction takes place tonight (Thursday 28th Feb) at 7.30pm at the Fisherman's Arms, Baycliff.