Lough Foyle farmland birds project

Following on from the huge success of the INTERREG funded Halting Environmental Loss Project between 2010 and 2014, the RSPB is continuing to support farmers to maintain and expand the populations and range of breeding waders in their historical strongholds in Northern Ireland.

Lough Foyle RSPB reserve, Co. Londonderry, mud at low tide


Breeding waders are intimately associated with traditional Northern Irish farmland landscapes but have been significantly declining throughout Northern Ireland for more than 30 years. RSPB is supporting farmers to undertake suitable habitat management to help reverse these declines.


  • To support farmers on more than 30 square kilometres of farmland in the Lough Foyle basin to help breeding lapwing and other farmland birds.
  • To support farmers to implement management on their land to support wildlife. If you are a farmer or landowner in the area and would like to receive free advice or attend any of our events/demonstrations, please use the contact details below. 
  • To promote and celebrate wildlife-friendly farming and the conservation, economic and health and well-being benefits this brings to the wider community. If you are a community group in the area and would like to attend any of the talks or events, please use the contact details below.


  • September 2010 - The RSPB initiates a large-scale species restoration project, with Lough Foyle one of the key project areas.
  • September 2011 - A series of highly successful public events are initiated.
  • December 2014 - A series of events are staged for farmers and the general public to celebrate the success of the HELP project. Lapwing, barn owl, yellowhammer and tree sparrow are all species with improved conservation profiles in local communities.
  • April 2015 - A conservation advisor is employed to further support farmers and communities.

Planned Work

Regular advisory visits to all farmers with face-face advice on arable and grazing management, to be followed up with a workshop event once a year.
Close liaison with DARD and NIEA to advocate for the best agri-environment measures and site management support for farmers.
The continuation of our series of highly-successful public engagement events promoting the wonderful landscape wildlife of Lough Foyle, including the internationally important winter waterfowl and the breeding birds found during the spring and summer.


As of autumn 2015, the Lough Foyle basin was home to more than 50 pairs of breeding lapwing – more than five per cent of the entire breeding population in Northern Ireland. 
Yellowhammers, tree sparrows and even a few barn owls are among the other priority species breeding in the area and for which the RSPB is working in partnership with local councils and Ulster Wildlife to support. 
The RSPB has also been promoting and celebrating wildlife-friendly farming and the conservation, economic and health benefits it brings to the wider community.  


We have no official partners but the inch and Foyle Wildfowl Project and Birdwatch Ireland have information and project initiatives partnering and complementing the RSPB's at Lough Foyle.


  • RSPB


Coast on a stormy day

Gareth Bareham

Conservation Advisor, Reserves

Tagged with: Country: Northern Ireland Habitat: Farmland Habitat: Marine and intertidal Project status: Ongoing Project types: Site protection Project types: Species protection