Pilsey Island RSPB Reserve. Aerial view.

Portsmouth to Pagham

Portsmouth to Pagham

The coastal plain from Portsmouth to Pagham Harbour is one of the most important areas for birds and other wildlife in southern England.

This string of “harbours” is of international significance for a range of precious species. They are a vital refuge for thousands of wintering and migrant wetland birds, including vast numbers of brent geese and huge wader flocks.

They also host rare breeding seabirds such as little terns, which often feed in the rich waters offshore. They are important as wild fish nurseries with common seals among the regular visitors too.

Each harbour has a very distinct feel, from the busy Royal Navy bases in Portsmouth to the quiet saltmarshes of Pagham, while Chichester Harbour is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Peppered between these harbours are the crucial farmland habitats which support important numbers of breeding birds, such as corn buntings and grey partridges, and vital numbers of secretive water voles.


PDF, 1.52Mb. Date: 5 September 2014

Futurescapes - Portsmouth to Pagham

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. 

Wet meadows at Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve, West Sussex, England. March 2007
Pulborough Brooks

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:

Langstone Harbour

Langstone Harbour is a muddy estuary which attracts large numbers of birds all year round. Terns, gulls and wading birds descend to breed on the islands in spring and summer, while thousands of waders and brent geese migrate from the Arctic to feed and roost in safety.

Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve

Pagham Harbour is a glorious and peaceful nature reserve. One of the few undeveloped stretches of the Sussex coast it is also an internationally important wetland site for wildlife.

Pilsey Island

This small reserve comprises a wide range of coastal habitats; intertidal sandflats and mudflats, fore dunes and yellow dunes, bare and vegetated shingle and saltmarsh. As well as large numbers of roosting birds, an impressive variety of unusual plants, spiders and insects exist on the reserve, thriving in the undisturbed habitats. There is no access to the reserve itself, however it can easily be viewed from surrounding rights of way.

 Rock samphire Crithmum maritimum in shingle, Pilsey Island RSPB Reserve, Hampshire, September 2015
Pilsey Island
Langstone Harbour RSPB Reserve, aerial view
Langstone Harbour

Our Partners

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

Saving special places