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What's wild and special about Barrow and Furness

What's wild and special about Barrow and Furness

The coastline is incredibly important in the Barrow and Furness Constituency. The entire length, except for a short section on Walney Island, is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) because it is environmentally important. 

South Walney Nature Reserve holds the most southern colony of eider ducks in Britain and is the only site on the west coast of England.

The coastline
The coast is made up of a diverse mosaic of shingle, sand dune and salt marsh. Vegetated shingle at Foulney Island is an important habitat supporting a number of drought-tolerant plants and various insect populations. The shingle provides breeding sites for a number of birds, especially Arctic and little terns.

Sand dunes
Sand dunes support highly specialised plant species such as sea rocket and Portland spurge, as well as beautiful orchids including pyramidal, bee and northern marsh orchid. Natterjack toads breed in the shallow pools or slacks that form between the successive ridges of sand dune systems.

Cumbria holds over half of the UK’s population of natterjack toads with a large number of colonies situated in the sand dunes around Barrow. Sand dunes can protect beaches from erosion and are vital in our fight against coastal erosion.

Morecambe Bay
Morecambe Bay is the most important estuary in Britain for its seabird and waterfowl populations and has the third largest number of wintering wildfowl in Britain. It contains 5 per cent of the UK’s total area of salt marsh which, sitting within the intertidal zone, provide an important feeding habitat for birds such as the pink-footed goose. Every autumn migratory birds fly to over-winter in Morecambe Bay. The bay regularly supports over 200,000 waders and 20,000 seabirds making it one of the country’s best bird watching sites.

A vision for the Barrow and Furness constituency

Your Wildlife Trust is developing a Living Landscape vision for Barrow and Furness.

We are establishing interesting and diverse species-rich habitats for our nature reserves on Walney and Foulney islands. We will be working closely with the local community and volunteers on our Dunes of Barrow project to achieve this. Coastal sand dune and shingle habitats are vitally important in this area and restoration is vital to the wildlife that relies on them.

The Marine and Coastal Access Act requires the designation of a network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), designed to protect the sea’s wildlife. Our vision is that wildlife and habitats are recovering from past decline as our use of the seas’ resources becomes environmentally sustainable.

The important muddy and sandy habitats off Walney Island have been proposed for protection as a MCZ. Incorporating co-location with the Walney windfarms, this area could help us to promote sustainable use of the marine environment and protect sensitive species from damaging fishing activities.

We are currently in the process of campaigning for West of Walney recommended MCZ and further coastal and marine sites to be incorporated into the network.
 

Cumbria Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves in the Barrow and Furness constituency:

Foulney Island Nature Reserve

Next Ness Nature Reserve

South Walney Nature Reserve