Sat in an office in the middle of Bedfordshire, I often miss the coast. I was reminded of two of my favourite coastal locations recently as they hosted visits by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). They were our RSPB Marshside nature reserve near Southport and RSPB Bempton Cliffs on the Yorkshire coast.
Both are protected by law because they are amongst Europe’s most important places for wildlife. Bempton teems with nesting seabirds and Marshside hosts thousands of wading birds and wildfowl in winter and is packed with nesting waders in spring.
Marshside - packed with birds, a wintery flock of lapwing drift down to land. Picture Andy Hay (RSPB Images)
But their stories don’t begin and end with the wildlife – both are brilliant places for us to engage with nature and get to see and understand why their protection is so important. Whether it’s a sky full of yelping pink-footed geese flying into land at Marshside or the cacophony of seabirds at Bempton assaulting the senses (including smell), both places add immeasurably to the quality of our lives.
Jacqueline Foster (MEP) visited Marshside, and clearly enjoyed her time with our team. She heard how the nature reserve fits into a wider landscape of coastal wetlands that contribute to local tourism.
On the other side of the country, MEP Rebecca Taylor (pictured below), visited Bempton. We were able to tell her about our plans for this important nature reserve.
She was clear that the benefits are both for wildlife, people and the local economy; “It is vitally important we do all we can to protect the wildlife we have in the area. It was great to see for myself the good work being done by the RSPB at Bempton Cliffs, while also being able to enjoy the birds that are living there. As a nature lover, it is good to hear how the RSPB intend to expand what is on offer at Bempton Cliffs, so that more visitors can Yorkshire’s stunning coastline. I wish the RSPB well for the future and encourage people to take the opportunity to get to see for themselves Yorkshire’s beautiful scenery.”
Rebecca Taylor ‘I am happy to sign the pledge as a sign of my commitment to protecting the environment.”
If you get the chance - do get out and visit an RSPB Nature reserve over the summer
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