Reserve focus: Ouaisne Common SSI, Jersey

Despite its small size, Ouaisne Common supports a remarkable diversity of species. The site is known for being the only natural British site of the Agile Frog, but its location, some 100 miles south of England, means that a number of the reserve’s other species are rare in, or absent from mainland Britain. Guy Freeman provides

The natural history of a sand-dune blowout

Sand-dune blowouts provide challenging conditions for life due to their constantly changing nature. Despite this, they can support a wide variety of rare, specialist plants and animals. The ‘Devil’s Hole’ in Merseyside is one of the largest blowouts in the UK, providing ideal breeding conditions for species such as the Natterjack Toad and Northern Dune

Rejuvenating Welsh dunes

A recent article in British Wildlife highlights a continuing 'trend towards a more heavily vegetated condition' at Cabin Hill NNR, on Merseyside, 'as on many other British and European coastal dunes' (Smith 2012).   

Life on the links – a perspective on biodiversity

Dumbarnie Links Wildlife Reserve is a tiny patch of dune grassland on the south coast of Fife, acquired as a reserve by the Scottish Wildlife Trust in 1998. Since then, as volunteer manager, I have set myself the unending task of discovering what lives there and also, as opportunity arise, how the species live there. 

Merthyr Mawr National Nature Reserve

Wales's newest National Nature Reserve, at Merthyr Mawr on the Glamorgan coast, is a place of contrasts and conundrums, and a challenge to preconceptions. 

The fall and rise of Ainsdale’s Natterjacks

Today, for herpetologists in the know, the Natterjack Toad Bufo calamita is almost synonymous with the village of Ainsdale, on the Sefton Coast in Meryside, its British Stronghold. Ironically, in the recent past the species' huge population here dropped to an alarmingly low level and became largely restricted to a narrow belt of sandy dunes adjacent to

Whatever happened to the Ravenglass gullery?

Ravenglass gullery! Those words can still evoke images of what was once one of the wonders of the natural world in Britain. Ravenglass was a true 'mecca' not only for bird-watchers but for anyone interested in nature. The reserve supported a fantastic kaleidoscope of wildlife in and around a huge Black-headed Gull Laris ridibundus colony on the

Classic wildlife sites – The Sefton Coast sand-dunes, Merseyside

Running for about 27km in a gentle arc between the estuaries of the Mersey and Ribble, the Sefton Coast is arguably the richest wildlife area in north-west England. This applies particularly to its internationally famous sand-dune system, which at 2,100ha is the largest in England. Lying so close to the urban/industrial conurbations of Merseyside and

Reserve Focus – Gibraltar Point NNR, Lincolnshire

Gibraltar Point is a major coastal nature reserve on the northern edge of the Wash. It is an SSSI, a Ramsar site, a National Nature Reserve, and a Special Protection Area, yet is also the second most-visited tourist site in Lincolnshire after Lincoln Cathedral. It is managed by the Lincolnshire and South Hunberside Trust for

Reserve Focus – Newborough Warren NNR, Anglesey

Newborough Warren, or Ynys Llanddwyn, is one of the largest sand-dune systems in Britain. It is situated in a dramatic position, on the southern tip of Anglesey, with wide views across to Snowdonia and the mountains of the Lleyn peninsula. Out of the 1,300 or so hectares of dunes, about 750ha have been afforested, whilst

The Sandhill Rustic – the Unanswered Questions

The 4th September 1990: a still autumn night by the sea in Cornwall, moonlight glistening on the gentle swell, the soft orange lights of a small fishing village far distant across the bay, the sound of pebbles drawn back into the sea by the undercurrent that is always present here. By the water's edge, several

Reserve Focus – Braunton Burrows National Nature Reserve, Devon

At the mouth of the Rivers Taw and Torridge in North Devon lies the remarkable and beautiful area known as Braunton Burrows. From a glance at the map, it looks like a flat, low-lying coastal plain, though the reality on the ground is quite different. The Burrows are one of Britain's most extensive, and highest,

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