South Walney is one of two nature reserves on Walney Island, England. The nature reserve has an area of 130 ha. It has been managed by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust since 1963. The reserve is notable for:
- Gulls. There are lesser black backed gulls and herring gulls. Numbers have declined considerably since the 1970s.
- Seals. It is the only grey seal colony in Cumbria. Numbers have increased since the 1970s. Until recently South Walney was classed as a haul-out site rather than a breeding colony, but two pups were born there in 2015, and five the following year.
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
The shingle beach on the seaward side of the reserve photographed in 2009
|Location||Cumbria, United Kingdom|
The reserve is the home of the Walney Bird Observatory which collates bird records from across the island. Around 300 species of bird have been recorded on Walney Island since the foundation of the bird observatory in 1964.
South Walney and Piel Channel Flats are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for biological and geological interest. The SSSI includes the South Walney part of the Walney Island Geological Conservation Review Site. The SSSI is contiguous with two other SSSIs:
- the Duddon Estuary SSSI (within the Walney Channel, which separates Walney Island from the mainland)
- the Morecambe Bay SSSI.
Both the Duddon Estuary and Morecambe bay have been designated Special Protection Areas (a protected area under the European Union Birds Directive). In 2016, before the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, there were consultations on a proposal that Morecambe Bay and Duddon Estuary be combined in a new SPA. The combined SPA would include a marine extension west of Walney Island to protect foraging areas of terns. This marine extension is not to be confused with the "West of Walney" Marine Conservation Zone (designated in January 2016), which is some kilometres from the coast.
- "All at sea - unexpected changes at South Walney Nature Reserve". Retrieved 15 April 2017.
- "Lesser black backed gull". The Wildlife Trusts. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Copping, Jasper (2013). "The coast where they want their seagulls back". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- "Massive seal study will test the old grey matter". Lakeland Echo (Morecambe, England). Johnston Publishing Ltd. 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2014. Accessed via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
- "South Walney Nature Reserve's first ever seal pup born". BBC. 18 November 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- "Second seal pup born at South Walney Nature Reserve". North-West Evening Mail. 29 November 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
- "Walney Bird Observatory".
- "Seal cam goes live". September 2016.
- "South Walney & Piel Channel Flats" (PDF). Retrieved 15 April 2017.
- "Proposals for a Special Protection Area on Morecambe Bay and the Duddon Estuary and adjacent coast". Natural England. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
- "West of Walney Marine Conservation Zone". Retrieved 3 September 2016.