Explore Alderney’s designated conservation areas that are managed and maintained by the Alderney Wildlife Trust, a locally run, independent charity along with the States of Alderney in order to ensure long term protection for the benefit of the wildlife that inhabits them.
The uninhabited island of Burhou Island lies two miles northwest of Alderney. Despite being only half a mile long and one fifth of a mile wide, Burhou is a bird sanctuary which is home to 11 species of breeding birds including Puffins. It is because of Burhou’s wealth of breeding seabirds that an area of Alderney was granted a Ramsar designation in 2005 (A Wetland of Worldwide Importance).
Due to the importance of Burhou’s habitat there is a voluntary ‘Puffin Friendly Zone’ which all mariners are asked to observe.
Visitors can enjoy views of the island from a boat tour which are available from April to October.
Longis Nature Reserve
Longis Nature Reserve is the largest reserve in Alderney, covering approximately 1/8th of the island. It was designated under a memorandum of understanding in 2003 between the Alderney Wildlife Trust, the States of Alderney and local landowners.
It contains thirteen distinctly different habitats including marine, intertidal, coastal heathland, grassland, scrub woodland and freshwater ponds, both natural and man-made. The grasslands alone have a great diversity of plant species, with rarities such as Small Hare’s-ear, Sand Crocus, Bastard Toadflax and Orange Bird’s-foot, as well as the endemic Alderney Sea Lavender on the rocky shore. Two bird hides, both open to visitors, overlook the reserve’s freshwater ponds, offering unrivalled views of waterfowl, songbirds and migrants alike.
The United Nations Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention 1971) officially recognised Alderney’s West Coast and Burhou Island as a ‘Wetland of Worldwide Importance’ in 2005. This ensures ‘wise use’ to protect and sustain the 1,500 hectares area, which includes the northern gannet colonies of Les Etacs and Ortac and the puffin colony of Burhou through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education. This work is done by the Alderney Wildlife Trust who undertake many ecological studies.
Vau de Saou Nature Reserve
Set on the southern cliffs, the Vau de Saou is a nature reserve covering 7 hectares and managed by the Alderney Wildlife Trust.
A variety of migratory birds, including birds of prey are often spotted within the reserve as well as the island’s only reptile, the slow worm. Many important insect species are also found here. A path leads through woodland, which in spring is covered with beautiful native bluebells, then along through heathland to the ‘Wildlife Bunker’, a WWII bunker, restored and transformed into an information centre which is left open all year round. On a clear day from the bunker you can see the neighbouring islands of Jersey, Sark, Guernsey and Herm.
Les Rochers, an area in the centre of the island, was once a largely overgrown area of semi-abandoned land. This is now the site of the largest community woodland project in the Channel Islands. An area of 17 hectares has been planted by the Alderney Wildlife Trust with a mixture of native trees, including a small community orchard. Visitors can explore the woodland trails and learn more about the wildlife of the area and its industrial and military history at ‘feature sites’.