Panoramic view of wetland, RSPB Leighton Moss reserve

Morecambe Bay

Morecambe Bay

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.


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Futurescapes - Morecambe Bay

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Morecambe Bay Visitor Survey Summary

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. 

Bird watcher looking out of Lillian's hide, Leighton Moss RSPB reserve

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 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

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.

Morecambe Bay - Hest Bank

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.

Tern & gull colony, Hodbarrow RSPB reserve, Millom, Cumbria, England, June 2007

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.

Source to Sea

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 Lyth Valley

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. 

Redshank, Tringa totanus Brownsea Island Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve. Dorset, England. March

Our partners

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:

Saving special places