View of a meandering river, through reed lined banks, under a cloudy, dark blue sky

Freshwater and coastal nature reserves

How the RSPB manages land with freshwater and coastal features across the UK to help protect wildlife.


Adult water vole sitting on a small rocky island in the middle of yellowy green water, showing reflection underneath

In partnership, the RSPB created one of the most ambitious re-creation schemes in Europe - a 115-hectare intertidal network of saltmarsh, islands and mudflats at Wallasea Island in Essex. We transformed carrot fields into a wetland home for kingfishers, cranes, otters and watervoles at Lakenheath Fen, Suffolk. Ouse Fen, Cambridgeshire is being reshaped into a mosaic of wildlife-rich wetland which will be over 980 football pitches in size by 2030.

Northern Ireland

Close-up of a Redwing in breeding plumage on a muddy, waterlogged ground

Our work led to a dramatic increase in the numbers of breeding lapwings and redshanks at Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh. The lough now supports nearly a third of Northern Ireland's breeding redshanks. Lapwings and snipe bred at Portmore Lough after wetland habitat restoration. And at Lough Beg, the RSPB is helping to restore wet grassland - an area of great importance for breeding wading birds throughout Europe.


Close-up view of a bright white Whooper swan swimming in calm, bright blue water

One fifth of the world’s population of pink-footed geese feed and roost in the Loch of Strathberg each winter. Wading birds such as lapwings, dunlins and golden plovers arrive in the summer. Insh Marshes is a highlands floodplain where waters from surrounding hills create a rich mosaic of grasslands, reedbeds, and open waters. It's unspoiled character makes it a haven for spotted crakes, wintering whooper swans and hen harriers. 


Peregrine Falcon in flight over dull blue sea.

The valleys and coastal plains of Wales are naturally rich in wetland wildlife, with wonderful peatland habitats including Cors Fochno and Cors Caron and the fens and lakes of Anglesey. The RSPB works across a number of partnerships in Wales to help restore lost wetland wildlife and habitats.