Wildlife and Plantlife

Wildlife and Plantlife
Wildlife and Plantlife

The Ribble Estuary and its associated wetlands are of immense importance for wildlife, due to the variety of wetland habitats present. The Ribble Estuary NNR is a jewel within the crown of the North West region’s top wildlife sites. It is therefore no wonder that eight of these sites are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in order to protect, enhance and conserve their wildlife interests.

From natterjack toads to Purple Ramping-fumitory there is so much to see and enjoy. You can visit the Sefton Coast and its vast dune system, which is home to over 450 species of plants, with dune slacks providing the perfect environment for 10% of Britain’s natterjack toad population.

Alternatively, one could view the vast expanses of saltmarsh that fringe extensive areas of inter tidal sand and mudflats within the confines of the Ribble Estuary where salt tolerant plants may be found, including Glass Wort, Sea Aster, Thrift, and Common Scurvy-grass.

In addition the estuary itself supports a multitude of wildlife, from porpoises and flat fish to the millions of invertebrates and crustaceans upon which a quarter of a million migratory wildfowl and wading birds depend as a source of food throughout the winter months. The huge flocks of swirling knot performing acrobatic aerial displays are something not to be missed.

To top things off, well managed wetlands located at Martin Mere, Mere Sands Wood offer a unique insight into the wildlife of the region. Mere Sands Wood has way-marked walks along which you may see water voles, many species of aquatic flowering plants and up to 12 species of damselfly and dragonflies. There are also breeding wildfowl such as shoveler, golden eye, gadwall and pochard not to mention nesting ringed plovers on the margins of the Mere as well as a host of other flora and fauna associated with the surrounding woodland.

Regardless of your specific wildlife interest, the Ribble Coast and Wetlands offer a beautiful and tranquil environment in which to explore the richness of our natural heritage.

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