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
Curlews in crisis: one year on
For this year’s World Curlew Day, Thursday 21st April 2022, amongst the enjoyment of this beautiful yet gravely threatened bird, comes an update on the ambitious conservation delivery project, Curlews in crisis (Curlew LIFE). The project is app...(re...Posted 21/04/2022 by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers
The conservationist's dilemma: an update on the science, policy and practice of the impact of predators on wild birds (8)
As we have written in previous years, the decision to introduce any form of predator control (lethal or non-lethal) is something we never take lightly. It’s always based on evidence and guided by the RSPB’s Council-agreed policy. The RSPB...(read mor...Posted 20/09/2021 by martinfowlie
G7 Commentary - Nature compact success or failure?
For the first time the G7 has made a nature-positive commitment to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030. This is unprecedented. Never before we have seen nature prioritised in a way that recognises the importance of a healthy natural wor...Posted 14/06/2021 by Vanessa Amaral-Rogers
A big step for international whale conservation - sei whale Key Biodiversity Area in Falklands
By Michelle Winnard, Communications Officer, Falklands Conservation Sei whale by Caroline Weir, Falklands Conservation In a big step for international whale conservation, the Falkland Islands have been confirmed as a hotspot for a globally end...(re...Posted 12/05/2021 by Heather Mitchell