North and South Walney Nature Reserves

(See also Walney Island , Barrow-In-Furness)

South Walney estuary by Graeme DougalTen-mile long and 5000-feet wide Walney Island, northwest of Barrow-in-Furness, has suffered much erosion. The sea's tides formed the island's bays and salt marshes providing a variety of natural habitats that include sand dunes, heath, saltmarsh, beach, shingle, and scrub.

The island is home to two nature reserves, North and South Walney that include important flora and fauna. Both migrating and nesting birds enjoy the reserves, and an observation building provides a good spot for viewing.

South Walney gull and young birds by Graeme DougalSouth Walney Nature Reserve (established in 1963) is home to more than 60,000 birds and is a nesting ground for more than 17,000 pair of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls. An eider duck breeding colony is established here. Kestrels, barn owls, tufted duck, swans, and grebes delight the eye. Other breeding species include common tern, little tern, oystercatcher, ringed plover, shelduck, mallard and moorhen.

South Walney light house by Graeme DougalSpecies such as knot, dunlin, sanderling, turnstone, golden plover, grey plover, redshank, curlew bartailed godwit, widgeon, teal, goldeneye, common scoter, red-breasted merganser, red-throated diver, and cormorant winter on the reserve.

North Walney is a habitat for the Natterjack Toad, found in only 40 places in Britain, thus its rarest amphibian. 400 species of moths and butterflies inhabit the reserves.

South Walney view of Piel Island and castle by Graeme DougalThe Walney geranium, wild pansies, burnet rose, and ladies' bedstraw add colour to the sand dunes in the spring. The marsh supports sea aster, sea lavender, and thrift, while local ponds are home to several species of orchid. In total more than 450 species of flowering plants are recorded.

Lying in Cumbria's southwest corner between the Duddon estuary and Morecambe Bay, Walney Island's reserves are full of natural history.

North Walney is a habitat for the Natterjack Toad, found in only 40 places in Britain, thus its rarest amphibian. 400 species of moths and butterflies inhabit the reserves.The Walney geranium, wild pansies, burnet rose, and ladies' bedstraw add colour to the sand dunes in the spring.

South Walney oyster farm by Graeme DougalThe marsh supports sea aster, sea lavender, and thrift, while local ponds are home to several species of orchid. In total more than 450 species of flowering plants are recorded.

Lying in Cumbria's southwest corner between the Duddon estuary and Morecambe Bay, Walney Island's reserves are full of natural history.

Walney Nature Reserve is located at the end of the A590.
Reserve open 10am-5pm in the summer, 10-4 in winter; closed on Mondays.
Administered by Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Note: Please check opening times and dates before visiting in case of changes.

Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal

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