Lough Erne Basin
Lough Erne Basin
Rising in Monaghan, the River Erne travels northwest, flowing through Upper and Lower Lough Erne in Fermanagh before draining into Donegal Bay. The Loughs, and their catchments, sustain a wide array of natural habitats and wildlife.
This includes rare plants, like the fen violet and Irish lady’s tresses orchid; vulnerable breeding populations of wading birds such as curlew, golden plover, lapwing, and redshank; as well as iconic mammals like otters and red squirrels.
The Lough Erne Basin itself spans an area of 2,022 square kilometres.
This Futurescape provides food, clean water, flood defence, recreation, cultural heritage and carbon capture and storage. Farmers, businesses, local communities and multiple organisations are working in partnership to conserve this landscape, ensuring it continues to thrive for people and wildlife.
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.
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 key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
Aghatirourke is part of the Cuilcagh Mountain World Geopark in County Fermanagh. It's an area of extensive upland blanket bog habitat bordered by limestone grassland to the north and montane heath on the summit to the south.
Lough Erne is one of the largest freshwater lakes in the UK. Take a leisurely stroll around the forest trails and look across to some of the 40 islands which make up most of the reserve, two of which you can visit by boat.
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.
HELP is about restoring habitats for birds, improving biodiversity and increasing opportunities for rural tourism and natural heritage education. The Project operates at a landscape and cross-border scale and involves the RSPB in Northern Ireland and Scotland along with BirdWatch Ireland. Work focuses on helping curlews, choughs, corncrakes, lapwings, redshanks and snipe.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the Lough Erne Basin. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
- BirdWatch Ireland
- Butterfly Conservation
- Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland
- Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland
- Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
- Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
- Fermanagh District Council
- Fermanagh Lakelands Tourism
- Forest Service of Northern Ireland
- Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark
- Northern Ireland Environment Agency
- Rivers Agency of Northern Ireland
- Truagh Development Association
- Ulster Wildlife
- Waterways Ireland
- Woodland Trust
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph