ASSI Fact File: Mooragh Shore, Ramsey

Thursday 7th September 2017

Ramsey North Shore ASSI by Dawn DickensRamsey North Shore ASSI by Dawn Dickens

Find out more about the flora and fauna living in this special area by using our spotter sheet.

This area was where the first recording of the elusive Isle of Man cabbage was made. Walk along the pathway through the vegetation at the top of the beach and then explore the beach and pools which stretch between here and the Old Grand Island Hotel site.

ASSI’s are areas of special scientific interest, these sites are selected due to specialised habitat, species, geological or geographical features. Although ASSI’s deal with terrestrial areas, our sea landscapes and fauna can be protected by being designated a marine nature reserve, Ramsey Bay is one due to the underlying sea bed habitats.

The Mooragh North shore ASSI site can be found stretching from the first entrance onto North shore beach in Ramsey, walking Northwards from the new swimming pool. Walk along the footpath through the vegetation at the top of the beach, please keep to the path to help us protect the plants which grow there. Trampling on plants can cause a lot of damage, it compacts the soil, stops the plants from growing and flowering and studies have shown that just 10 treads a month can reduce the insect life living there by as much as 80%, wow that’s quite an effect!

The walk will take about 30 minutes but allow longer for a bit of beach combing and exploring the pool and sea weed covered areas on the beach.
Why not continue your walk along the beach to the end of the promenade where the old Grand Island hotel was. Return by walking along the promenade itself. This is a flat walk and suitable for young children although do be aware of traffic alongside the promenade. Time your visit to coincide with low water so you can also explore the beach especially the cobbled areas covered in bright green seaweed which often has small shore crabs hiding in it. Take some binoculars to spot out the seabirds feeding by the shore line, it’s a great place to watch the distinctive black and white oyster catchers, there are also plenty of black headed gulls which confusingly has no black head markings for much of the year but a dark smudge behind the eye during winter. They have distinctive dark red bills and legs.

This area was designated an ASSI in part due to being the first place where the Isle of Man cabbage was first described back in the 1660’s by the botantist John Ray. The beach and town would have looked very different in those days with the harbour piers not being built until 1790’s! It also has the rare plants for the Island of hare’s foot clover and broom rape. You can still see the fluffy seed heads of the hare’s foot, and yes they do look very like the hairy long back foot of a hare! Why not download our spotting sheet from our website, to take along with you? The tightly packed nest shaped seed heads of the wild carrot often hide a ladybird so look closely at this plant. It is the fore runner of the modern carrot but with its white woody stems is not as palatable, the orange carrot which was actually cultivated in the Netherlands, some say as a reference to William of Orange in the 17th century. It is not advisable to forage for wild carrot as they look very similar to water hemlock, also the plants on this site are protected so please just look and leave their beauty for others to enjoy.

On the beach why not look at the many different varieties of shells, you will find plenty of topshells, scallops, mussels, limpet and peppery furrow shells as well as the exotic looking Pelican’s foot. There are often the carapace and claws of shore crabs here too as well as the shells of sea potatoes and razor clams. Whatever the weather walking along a beach always leads to plenty of finds. Why not find out more about this area by looking on the Ramsey Marine Reserve face book page, there are also leaflets about the reserve at Ramsey town hall in the foyer. Happy exploring!


FilenameFile size
Ramsey North Shore ASSI Spotter Sheet1.58 MB