From woodlands and grasslands to peat bogs and reedbeds, the countryside surrounding Morecambe Bay is peppered with important sites and amazing habitats for wildlife.
These are frequently found in isolated pockets. So, with a variety of partners, we’re restoring vital habitats to form stepping stones between these pockets, allowing wildlife to move from place to place.
We’re creating and restoring nature-rich wetlands extending from the Bay up into the river valleys. Here, wet grasslands and reedbeds improve water quality and nurture thriving populations of bitterns, water voles and dragonflies. Meanwhile, our partners improve limestone woodlands and grasslands for a host of butterflies and birds.
This diverse landscape will support a thriving rural economy, promoting high-quality local produce and wildlife tourism.
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:
The great crested grebe was almost hunted to extinction in the UK for its ornate head plumes. At Hodbarrow in the spring you can see their amazing courtship dance. There is also the chance to watch three species of tern in astonishing close-up.
Leighton Moss is the largest reedbed in north-west England and home to some extremely special birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. You might see deer too, not to mention butterflies aplenty.
The sandflats and saltmarshes of Morecambe Bay are vital feeding grounds for a quarter of a million wading birds, ducks and geese. It's the second most important estuary in the UK and is protected by European and UK law. The views you can get of the flocks of birds are spectacular.
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.
The Source to Sea Programme will look to tackle the causes of water pollution in the rivers and tributaries flowing into Morecambe Bay, improving the landscape through which the water flows. It will also look to raise awareness of water quality issues among communities living and working around the bay.
The Environment Agency's decision to turn off some of the pumps in the Lyth Valley could provide real opportunities for enhancing wetland habitat restoration.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in Morecambe Bay. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
- Arnside and Silverdale AONB
- Bay Tourism
- Butterfly Conservation
- Cumbria Tourism
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- The Environment Agency
- Forestry Commission England
- Marketing Lancashire
- Morecambe Bay Partnership
- Morecambe Bay wildlife network
- National Trust
- Natural England
- The Wildlife Trusts
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