Aerial view of Hayle Estuary, Cornwall

Cornwall Coast

Cornwall Coast

Cornwall’s coastline is magical - dramatic soaring cliffs and secret coves. It’s a working landscape where agriculture and fishing are still important even though tourism now underpins Cornwall’s economy.

Cornwall's coast is renowned nationally as the place to holiday - and justly so. Where else can you find a mix of turquoise seas, purple heaths, sandy beaches, mysterious estuaries, quaint seaside villages and spectacular wildlife?

To keep Cornwall's wildlife special, government, conservation organisations, farmers, schools, local communities and visitors must work together. 

We want Cornwall's coast to be a thriving wildlife-rich landscape which provides enjoyment and employment for the people who live, work and play there.

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Futurescapes - Cornwall Coast

Explore the area

Find out what’s going on near this Futurescape, including places to visit, news and local events, plus how you can work or volunteer for us. 

Freshwater marsh in evening light, Marazion Marsh RSPB reserve, Cornwall, August 1997
Marazion Marsh

Nearby reserves

Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are: 

Hayle Estuary

In cold winters, as many as 18,000 birds have been seen here. This is because the most south-westerly estuary in the UK never freezes. During spring and autumn, it is an ideal place to see migrant wading birds, gulls and terns.

Marazion Marsh

This reserve overlooks the beautiful St Michael's Mount and boasts Cornwall's largest reedbed. More than 250 bird, 500 plant, 500 insect and 18 mammal species have been recorded here and bitterns are now regular winter visitors (although patience is often required to see them). 

Hayle Estuary RSPB reserve, Cornwall, England, aerial view
Hayle Estuary
Freshwater marsh and Schoenoplectus, Marazion Marsh RSPB reserve, Cornwall
Marazion Marsh

Featured projects

We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.

Cornwall Chough Project

The natural return of wild choughs to Cornwall in 2001 was of great significance for Cornwall. Today, a walk around the spectacular Lizard and Penwith coastline is even more breathtaking because you are now likely to see and hear the elegant Cornish 'chows', back where they belong.

Cirl Bunting Reintroduction

A partnership project between the RSPB, Natural England, the National Trust and Paignton Zoo, with veterinary support from the Zoological Society of London, to help cirl buntings expand their range outside of Devon as recognised in the Government's Biodiversity Action Plan.

Cornwall Corn Bunting Project

Huge declines in Cornwall’s corn bunting population meant that in 2002 there were fewer than 50 singing males left, all confined to a small area of farmland along the north coast between Newquay and Pentire. Immediate action was necessary to protect the remaining birds and promote recovery in the county.

Cornwall Farming and Birds Project

The Cornwall Farming and Birds Project is a partnership between the RSPB and Duchy College. The project aims to help the region’s farmland birds by raising awareness among students and the wider community as to how farming can integrate the needs of farmland wildlife with food production.

Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, adult, at beach feeding site, Oronsay RSPB reserve, February 2000
Cornwall Chough Project
Adult male Cirl bunting, Emberiza cirlus. RSPB Cirl Bunting Project. Devon, England. July
Cirl bunting reintroduction
Corn Bunting Recovery Project, Cornwall
Cornwall Corn Bunting Project

Our partners

Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land on the Cornwall Coast. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with: