About the Isle of Man

A great place for wildlife-watching

A jewel in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man sits in the centre of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, approximately seventy miles off the coast of the north-west of England.

Looking south on the west coast. Andree DubbeldamWith its wonderful scenery, from rocky outcrops to wide sandy beaches, secluded glens to peaceful woodlands, there are plenty of places to get closer to nature.

The wide-open spaces of the island's countryside offer a unique opportunity to see a wide range of wildlife, all within easy driving or walking distance.

From the open flat plains of the north, with their wide beaches, sand dunes and soft cliff coastal cliffs, to the central hill range and its inter-dividing network of valleys and glens, the island has many contrasting habitats within packed within its coastline.

In the south there's a mix of coastal limestone bedding and volcanic rock features rising up to the sheer coastal cliffs and high ground based on hard Manx slate.

Habitats range from open heather moorlands which adorn the uplands up to the island's highest point, Snaefell, at 621 metres (2034 ft), to low-lying willow and alder carr woodland (called Curragh on the island) in the valleys and post-glacial depression of the northern plain. Much of the island is covered by a small scale field pattern, predominantly grassland, interdivided by dry stone walls and banks or hedges.

Here are some of our favourite places to see our wildlife - good luck & enjoy!


Manx Marine Scene coastal viewing sites:

A network of binoculars and information boards around the island's coastline to enable better understanding of, and opportunities to see, our coastal and marine wildlife. The sites can be found at Marine Drive, Port St Mary, Bradda Glen, Niarbyl, Peel breakwater and Castletown - all are free to use. Here are some other locations. 

The Sound, at the southern tip of the island:
Seals, chough, shags, cetaceans and basking sharks.

The Chasms/Sugarloaf, near Port St Mary:
Kittiwake, guillemot, peregrine, corvids (raven, chough crows) harbour porpoise, basking shark and minke whale.

The Calf of Man:
Bird Observatory with various seabird colonies resident – shag, great back black, lesser black back and herring gull, kittiwakes, guillimot and razorbill plus chough, hen harrier, raven, peregrine. seals, basking shark and lizard.

Port St Mary Ledges:
Harbour porpoise, minke, basking shark, and rissos dolphin.
• Visit our Marine Scene viewing point at Kallow Point, Port St Mary

Port Erin:
• Visit our Marine Scene viewing point at Bradda Glen, Port Erin.

Langness and Derbyhaven, near Castletown:
Risso’s dolphin, harbour porpoise, chough, geese, lepidoptera and lesser mottled grasshopper.

Niarbyl, on the west coast:
Chough, seabirds (various) and cetaceans (various).

• Visit our Marine Scene viewing point at Niarbyl.

Maughold Head:
Seals, cormorants, chough, wildfowl and seabirds and coastal wildflowers.

The Ayres/Point of Ayre:
Lichen Heath, sand-dunes, little tern, artic tern, winter migratory geese, divers, gannets, wildfowl (various), basking shark seals, lizard and lepidoptera (various).
• Visit our Ayres Visitor Centre and Nature Trail.

Bulgham Bay and Dhoon Glen, near Laxey:
Sea cliffs with feral mountain goat, chough, peregrine, seabirds and minke whale in autumn.

Marine Drive, near Douglas:
Cetaceans (various) seabirds (various), corvids, raptors and lizard.
• Visit our Marine Scene viewing point at Marine Drive.

• Visit our Marine Scene viewing point at Peel Breakwater

The Ballaugh Curragh:

Willow carr, bog, open water and species rich hay meadows: Excellent for orchids and many other meadowland wildflowers, royal fern, hen-harrier, corncrake, brown hare, feral wallaby, barn owl, buzzard and numeerous other bird species as well as odonata, lepidoptera and the Manx Robberfly.

The Southern uplands (South Barrule):
Hen harrier, grouse and crossbills.

Northern uplands (Snaefel area):
Mountain hare, hen harrier, polecat ferret, corvids, heather, upland acid-soil flora including sundew, cotton grass and least willow.

Silverdale River, near Ballasalla:
Bats and salmonids.

The Raggart, near Peel:
Bats, wild salmon and trout, various odonata and lepidoptera.

The old railway lines – Peel to Douglas and Peel to Ramsey:
Lepidoptera, odonata, bats, brown hare, feral wallaby and lizard.

Sulby River:
Open water, reed beds, salt marsh, salmonids, various wildfowl, kingfisher and warblers.

Cooilldarry/Glen Wyllin, near Kirk Michael:
River valley broadleaved woodland with bluebells, ferns, numerous birds species and bats.

Manx National Glens:
For bluebell and other spring woodland flowers, various woodland bird species, lepidoptera and bats. Here's a list of all national glens. Short of time? If you can only visit one, go to Ballaglass

Sulby Glen:
Spate river, heather and bracken heath, broadleaved woodland, meadows with orchids and summer wildflowers and dramatic views.

And try these other great spots to see wildlife and enjoy nature:

o Visit our Manx Marine Scene coastal viewing sites
o Visit our Close Sartfield nature reserve for an outstanding display of orchids in the meadow from late May to July
o Visit our Cooildarry nature reserve to enjoy a riverside walk thoughout the year, the spring flowers are a real joy to view too