The Isle of Man has been officially recognised as one of the best places in the world to explore nature with world heritage body Unesco designating the entire island a ‘Biosphere Reserve’.

Unesco praised the island as a “special place for people and nature”.

Find out more about Manx Biodiversity.

Due to its dynamic and ever-changing landscape, you’ll be sure to spot a diverse array of wildlife during your visit to the Island.

Whether its wild flowers and plants, or marine life and birds that you’re interested in, you certainly won’t be short of places to visit on the Island.

If it’s the Island’s marine life that appeals to you, make sure you visit The Sound at the southern tip of the Isle of Man.

 

Here you are almost guaranteed to see a large population of seals that are often spotted basking on the rocks or swimming in the water –  make sure you bring your camera and binoculars with you to make the most of the experience.

You can also take a boat trip to increase your chances of spotting wildlife around the Island’s extensive coastline, or to guarantee some underwater wildlife action you can try your hand at diving or snorkelling to see some marine life up close.

The Port Erin Aquarium (History)

Port Erin Marine Biological Station was formed in 1892 by distinguished zoologist Professor William Herdman of University College Liverpool.

 

The main building was divided into three parts; a biological station with a laboratory carrying out research in marine ecology, fisheries biology and management of the Manx herrings, environmental pollution and conservation, a sea fish hatchery, and an aquarium for the public.

“Many thousands of people visit the Fish Hatchery every year, and are fascinated by the sight of plaice and lobsters hatched at the Station. Oyster culture is also successfully carried on there. The aquarium with its specimens of local fish, shells and seaweeds, and the museum with its models of trawlers, are also of great interest.”

Official Handbook of The Official Board of Advertising for The Isle of Man, 1940

The station closed in 2006 the site is due to be redeveloped soon.

The Sound
At the Island's very southern tip is one of the most scenic places in the British Isles with wonderful views of the Calf of Man and some nice walks. There is a visitor centre, with cafe, a car park and picnic areas, Abundant with wildlife and natural wonders, this area is a hotspot for seals sunbathing on the rocky Kitterland, a small rocky islet. The area is also frequented by dolphins and basking sharks.
Scarlett
Scarlett Visitor Centre stands between the quarry, source of the limestone which built Castletown, and the triple lime-kilns on the shore. Displaying maps, diagrams and data, the Centre introduces the complex geology and fossil remains of the Scarlett peninsula. A short film shows off the areas rich coastal flora and bird life. A marked Nature Trail explores these features on the ground, specifically the limestone pavements and volcanic rocks such as the Stack. This is an exhilarating walk at any season, especially when spring flowers including spring squill, thrift, bird’s foot trefoil and stonecrop, carpet the rocky outcrops and the turf. In addition to the many and varied seabirds of Castletown Bay, wheatears, stonechats and meadow pipits dart among the rocks in summer and the disused quarry lake attracts hawking swallows and martins. The Visitor Centre is run by Manx Wildlife Trust's volunteers, and is open from May to September.
Breagle Glen
Breagle Glen in Port Erin is a small area of less than one acre and it is owned by the Manx Wildlife Trust.  The nature reserve consists of a grassed area with a bench, flower bed and an information board in braille. There is small wooded glen with a stream passing under two wooden bridges, which create a circular walk.  A variety of wild flowers—harebell, vetches, yellow rattle, meadow buttercup, and red clover—have been planted in the grassland to create a small wildflower meadow. The valley is woodland cover for birds such as blackbird, goldcrest, robin, and willow warbler. Migrant birds stop here and include barred warblers, firecrest, pied and red-breasted flycatchers, and lesser whitethroat. Berry and nectar bearing shrubs are planted to attract the birds as well as butterflies. Just up the road from the reserve is a bowling green, tennis courts and new crazy golf course which surround the Breagle Glen Cafe.
Ballachurry Nature Reserve
Only a mile out of town, this is a small reserve with two ponds, a hide and marked paths, with a proliferation of wildflowers and invertebrates Notable species: sedge warblers, willow warblers. chiffchaff, dragonflies, damson flies Over one thousand trees have been planted in the last ten years. Willow and alder have been placed in the wetter parts of the reserve, around the stream and ponds, while other species, such as oak, ash, rowan and birch, have been planted in the drier area to establish a small woodland. The larger, deeper pond has a reed bed and a small dam that feeds into a shallower pond, overlooked by a hide, which attracts many bird species, dragonflies and damselflies.
Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch
Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch (MWDW) has been at the forefront of marine mammal science on the Isle of Man since 2006. They work voluntarily year round to ensure the safeguarding of whales, dolphins, and porpoises (cetaceans) in Manx territorial waters through non-invasive research and public awareness efforts. Report whale and dolphin sightings at their website.
Manx Basking Shark Watch
The Manx Basking Shark Watch is committed to studying and protecting basking sharks in Manx waters and beyond. They use photos of the dorsal fins to identify each individual basking shark so if you have any photos you can upload them along with your sighting. If you also notice any particular behaviour the shark is displaying such as feeding, breaching or swimming in a specific fashion you can let them know.
Manx Wildlife Trust
Visit the Manx Wildlife website to find out about Marine wildlife, and Manx mammals. Did you know? The range of mammal species present on the island is very different to that of our nearest neighbours. Although several species of mammal are not present on the Isle of Man – fox, badger, otter, deer and moles are all absent – other species that are in decline in the UK are doing well in the Manx countryside.
Manx BirdLife
Manx BirdLife is a conservation charity based in the Isle of Man working to protect the island's wild birds and the habitats on which they depend. Since 1997, they have monitored the abundance and diversity of the island's wild birds. They use this data to inform conservation action that creates a better future for birds and people. help wild birds and the places in which they live by sending them your bird records
Wildflowers Isle of Man
Pictures and information about the wild flowers of the Isle of Man. The website has a map showing locations of a list of wildflower species that can be found there. You can then click on the name of a flower or location to see more information and pictures. You can also find guided walks, books and e-books about Manx Wildflowers.