NI coastline named UK’s favourite place for wildlife

The iconic Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has been named the best place for wildlife as voted in a poll by BBC Wildlife Magazine.

NI coastline named UK’s favourite place for wildlife.

Renowned for its captivating landscape and famous natural attractions, the Causeway Coast, which has always been a hit with locals and visitors, has now been voted the UK’s favourite place for wildlife in a recent poll.

The region, described as “a place of outstanding natural beauty”, has ranked higher than Dumfries, Galloway and the Isles of Scilly.

Causeway coastline voted the best place for wildlife – the public has spoken

This NI coastline was named UK’s favourite place for wildlife.
North Coast Sept 2011

BBC Wildlife Magazine recently conducted a poll to narrow down the best spot in the UK for wildlife enthusiasts, and the coastline which runs from Lough Foyle to the Glens of Antrim has come out as the top choice.

Surpassing other notable locations across the UK, the Causeway coastline stood out for a great reason and was nominated by environmental scientist Tara Shine.

Ms Shine remembers encountering an abundance of wildlife during her time as a student at the University of Ulster.

She stated, “I spent some of my most memorable days near, in and under the water here, catching waves off the sandy beach at Portrush, snorkelling with curious grey seals and scuba diving off the Skerries and below the dramatic cliffs of Rathlin Island, where I glided over stony reefs with dogfish and among shipwrecks with conger eels”.

She also added that this was indeed a place of extraordinary natural beauty.

To celebrate its 60th anniversary, the prestigious magazine asked 60 writers, conservationists, presenters and photographers to nominate their top UK destination for wildlife, which went head-to-head on the magazine’s website to take the top spot.

Causeway Coast takes the top spot – a place of diversity

The Causeway Coast takes the top spot.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

The winner was no surprise to many, including Richard Lafferty, a local boat tour operator who is more than familiar with the region’s diversity.

“The waters off the north coast here are rich in marine life because we have quite strong tidal currents and are full of plankton.

“It feeds the soft corals and the sponges underwater, which bring in the small fish, the birds and the bigger predators like our dolphins, porpoises, whales and basking sharks”.

Mr Lafferty added, “For years, we’ve been taking people who say, ‘We’ll learn to scuba dive here so when we go abroad, we can do it'”.

He said that people often return to the region, saying they have seen far more marine life along the Northern Ireland coast than abroad.

A glorious region – incredible marine life

The Causeway Coast is a glorious region.

The region, home to incredible marine diversity, is often overlooked by visitors who are blown away by what they see, and it is not uncommon to spot minke whales and dolphins in the wild.

The Giant’s Causeway is known to have a variety of rare species, too, including the world’s smallest moths and stromatolites – one of the earliest forms of life forms on Earth.

The National Trust, who own various sections of the coastline, said they are “delighted to be one of the custodians who help encourage wildlife along the Causeway coast”.

At the same time, Tourism Northern Ireland was not surprised by the accolade, stating that the region is “one of the most stunning coastal routes in the world”.

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