Langstone Harbour is a magical place for wildlife. Despite bordering a major city, the Harbour is a tranquil and largely undisturbed place that provides an important refuge for an astonishing variety of animals and plants. The Harbour is host to a diverse range of habitats, including intertidal mudflats, Seagrass meadows, and Atlantic saltmarsh. These habitats provide feeding grounds and refuge for internationally important assemblages of wildfowl and wading birds, perfect conditions for a Bass nursery, and even a haul out site for a small colony of Harbour Seals.
LANGSTONE HARBOUR SSSI
CHICHESTER AND LANGSTONE HARBOUR SPA
SOLENT MARITIME SAC
CHICHESTER AND LANGSTONE HARBOUR RAMSAR SITE
Management of environmental features in the harbour with regard to nature conservation, pollution control/response and liaison with relevant authorities for conservation and coastal management locally are key aims for the Harbour.
As a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, SSSI and SAC conservation of Langstone Harbour’s wildlife and habitats is of national and international importance. A number of agencies and organisations work to enhance the Harbour its environment.
The Langstone Harbour Board has an important role in ensuring that any activities we undertake, or anything we permit others to do, will not harm this valuable environment. The Harbour Board is committed to protecting the environment and as well as its legal duties under the various environmental designations, a 1999 Harbour Revision Order gave the Board powers to protect and promote the Harbour environment.
Natural England is the non-departmental public body of the UK government responsible for ensuring that England’s natural environment, including its land, flora and fauna, freshwater and marine environments, geology and soils, are protected and improved. They ensure the designations given to Langstone Harbour are upheld, and the regulations supporting those designations are adhered to.
In the north of the Harbour are located a number of small islands. These islands along with their associated mudflats together form a reserve managed by the RSPB . To minimise disturbance to birds, Harbour users are not permitted to land on the islands. In recent years as a result of careful management in the form of electric fences and shingle recharge the islands have become one of the most important nesting sites for Gulls and Terns on the south coast.
Farlington Marshes can be found in the north west corner of the Harbour and is an important nature reserve that is managed by the Hampshire Wildlife Trust. This is one of the best places in the Harbour to view birds as it includes a diverse range of habitats, from coastal grazing marsh to freshwater reed beds, and has the added advantage of being the best vantage point for observing the birds on the RSPB islands. The Hampshire Wildlife Trust have also undertaken a number of studies in Langstone Harbour, including the Solent Seal Project, and the Hampshire Wildlife Trust Seagrass Survey.
Around the perimeter of the Harbour there are a number of Local Nature Reserves, including the Kench, the Old Oysterbeds, and the recently designated Hayling Billy Trail. These reserves are managed by local authorities, with considerable assistance from local volunteer groups.
The Langstone Harbour Board supports and assists these conservation groups and their work in the Harbour.