The official website for the States of Alderney

Green Spaces, Coastline & Access

Alderney's environment is unique and central to every aspect of life. Its rugged cliffs, heathlands, rich farmland fields, small wooded valleys and sweeping sandy beaches provides a vital habitat for wide array of natural flora and fauna, worthy of national recognition. An island where individual species and small constrained habitats are key to the island's biodiversity. Our coastal zone, boasts one of the most energetic tidal regimes in the world with 10mph tides racing past the sheltered bays on the eastern coastline.

We are proud to have one of the most diverse islands left in the British Isles rich in wildlife and nature, something to be envied and protected.

  • Nature Reserves

    • Alderney has a number of designated nature reserves which help to preserve and sustain some of the important and diverse habitats around the island.

      These designated conservation areas are managed and maintained by the Alderney Wildlife Trust, a locally run independent charity, along with the States of Alderney in order to ensure long term protection for the benefit of the wildlife that inhabits them.

      Burhou Island
      The uninhabited island of Burhou Island lies two miles northwest of Alderney. Despite being only half a mile long and one fifth of a mile wide, Burhou is a bird sanctuary which is home to 11 species of breeding birds including Puffins. It is because of Burhou's wealth of breeding seabirds that an area of Alderney was granted a Ramsar designation in 2005 (A Wetland of Worldwide Importance). Due to the importance of Burhou's habitat there is a voluntary 'Puffin Friendly Zone' which all mariners are asked to observe.

      Longis Nature Reserve
      Longis Nature Reserve is the largest reserve in Alderney, covering approximately 1/8th of the island. It was designated under a memorandum of understanding in 2003 between the Alderney Wildlife Trust, the States of Alderney and local landowners.

      It contains thirteen distinctly different habitats including marine, intertidal, coastal heathland, grassland, scrub woodland and freshwater ponds, both natural and man-made. The grasslands alone have a great diversity of plant species. Two bird hides overlook the reserve's freshwater ponds, offering unrivalled views of waterfowl, songbirds and migrants alike.

      Ramsar Site
      The United Nations Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention 1971) officially recognised Alderney's West Coast and Burhou Island as a 'Wetland of Worldwide Importance' in 2005. This ensures 'wise use' to protect and sustain the 1,500 hectares area, which includes the northern gannet colonies of Les Etacs and Ortac and the puffin colony of Burhou through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education. This work is done by the Alderney Wildlife Trust who undertake many ecological studies.

      Vau de Saou Nature Reserve
      Set on the southern cliffs, the Vau de Saou is a nature reserve covering 7 hectare. A variety of migratory birds, including birds of prey are often spotted within the reserve as well as the island's only reptile, the slow worm. A path leads through woodland, which in spring is covered with beautiful native bluebells, then along through heathland to the 'Wildlife Bunker', a WWII bunker, restored and transformed into an information centre which is left open all year round. On a clear day from the bunker you can see the neighbouring islands of Jersey, Sark, Guernsey and Herm.

      Community Woodland
      Les Rochers, an area in the centre of the island, was once a largely overgrown area of semi-abandoned land. This is now the site of the largest community woodland project in the Channel Islands. An area of 17 hectares has been planted by the Alderney Wildlife Trust with a mixture of native trees, including a small community orchard. 

  • Coastal Defence and Management

    • Alderney's geographical location, the local currents and the rising sea levels mean that there is a continuous requirement for coastal defence works. States Works continues to carry out annual coastal defence works to vulnerable sections of our shores. These are generally to the North and West coast as they are more susceptible to stormy conditions from the English Channel. Often, works will involve strategic rock armour placement, stone filled gabions, sand bag walls and reinforced concrete. The Breakwater which protects Braye Harbour and the area to the South, is maintained by the States of Guernsey. Ownership of the breakwater passed from the British government to the Bailiwick of Guernsey in 1987.

  • Path Management and Maintenance

    • Alderney has over 30 miles footpaths to be enjoyed. 

      Alderney's paths are maintained by States Works Agricultural team and staff and volunteers from the Alderney Wildlife Trust, under contract. These teams work hard to keep the paths clear for walkers and stops the natural progression of invasive species such as bracken and coarse grasses, whilst timing their works to avoid disturbance to breeding birds and promote native flowering species. This is not always possible but the teams co-ordinate their work to try and minimise the impacts whilst ensuring access is always possible. Where the paths go through more sensitive areas such as the heathland cutting is reduced to once a year, and where possible only once every 2 or 3 years.

      This cutting regime ensures that each section benefits from a late cut, and helps to retain the biodiversity of the cliffs. Cutting the same sections early, before the flowers had set seed, would result in an ever decreasing seed bank and eventual loss of many flower species. Even though every effort is made to maintain access, some stretches of path may become overgrown during periods of rapid growth following warm moist conditions. 

      White marker stones are used to indicate minor tracks which require care to walk, are basic and often steep, but provide spectacular views.

  • Dogs on Beaches

    • Dogs are not permitted on almost all of Alderney's beaches between 1st June and 15 September.   

      If you are a dog owner, please pick up after your dog!

    • Please tie the top of the bag. Take the waste home, or put it in a public litter bin. There are many Dog Litter bins across the island.

      Please don't leave dog mess in a plastic bag at the side of the path or hanging on trees, hedges or fences. This is still a littering offence.

      If you see someone else leaving the mess from their dog on public land, you can ask them to pick it up. If they refuse, you are encouraged to contact States Works, the Agriculture Team or the Police with any details that may help lead to a successful prosecution (e.g. vehicle registration of dog owner/walker, description of dog and owner, etc). All calls will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

      Wildlife and dogs
      Dog owners should always prevent their dog from chasing or disturbing wildlife, especially birds. Birds are particularly vulnerable during the breeding season, February to July.

      Registered Assistance Dogs
      Owners of guide dogs are exempt from the Control of Dogs Ordinance. However, such owners are still legally required to pick up faeces left by their dogs in public places.

  • Beach BBQs

    • All persons intending to hold barbecues and/or beach parties etc. on States land (which includes beaches) after 8pm are reminded that a licence is required.
      A minimum notice of 24 hours must be given.

      During July and August there will be no licences issued to persons wishing to hold a Beach Party or Barbecue on Saye Bay or Arch Bay after 8pm.

      Beach barbeques should be lit well below the high tide mark and away from coastal dune or grassland vegetation. 

    • Please take your litter home with you or place it in an appropriate litter bin;

    • Take plastic items onto the beach rather than glass;

    • Barbeques and contained fires in a small fire bowl or bucket only:

      • Keep water nearby

      • Barbeque or fire to be lit below the high tide mark after 5pm and put out by midnight

      • In a spot where smoke wont disturb other people

      • Dowse embers thoroughly with water until cold and remove from the beach to a litter bin

      • Ensure the sand is dowsed with water until cold

    • Avoid disturbing wildlife;

    • Show respect for all other beach users;

    • Keep music to a respectful volume which does not disturb other beach users;

    • Ensure that you know the time and height of high tide.

    • For the Beach Barbeque Application Form click pdf icon here [464kb]or see the downloads section of this page.

  • Parks & Gardens

    • Alderney has a rich horticultural heritage which is reflected in its parks and gardens. States Works Agriculture Team looks after sites island-wide, including Memorial Gardens, St Anne's Churchyard, The Nunnery Heritage Site, The Butes and Butes Playpark and many other island gardens and plantations.