Alderney consists of a main island and numerous islets and reefs, surrounded by approximately 160 sq km of sea belonging to the island of Alderney and its community. Resting at the southern-most edge of the British Channel, around 100km from Poole Harbour (the nearest English port) and only 13km from the Normandy peninsular, the island lies along the migratory routes of many bird species.
With 1,000 hectares of terrestrial and 26,000 hectares of marine environment, Alderney contains a bit of everything: from woodland to wetland; scrubland to grassland and heathland; sandy beaches to rocky shores; shingle banks to rocky seabed. This astonishing range of habitats is linked to a temperate climate and a marine environment with extreme tidal conditions giving Alderney an abundant wildlife - out of all proportion to the island's small size.
Alderney's climate is temperate, moderated by the sea, and summers are usually warmer than elsewhere in the British Isles. Due to this mild microclimate, and plenty of sunshine, Alderney is home to many plants and animals not usually associated with the British Isles, such as these cabbage trees (pictured). Check out our local weather station to see what our weather is like at the moment!
The Island has a human history stretching back over 12,000 years to a time before the island became separated from the French mainland. This history has created an environment which might best be described as a heritage landscape, with every part of Alderney impacted by human habitation. Be it the 18 Victorian coastal forts, the introduction of rabbits, or the 70+ quarries which dot the island, it is impossible to separate Alderney’s heritage and natural landscape, and by considering the island’s past we can better plan to maintain the island’s biodiversity for the future.
The Alderney Wildlife Trust (AWT) is part of the influential UK-wide partnership of 47 Wildlife Trusts. Working in the absence of British and European wildlife protection laws, the AWT is the sole body caring for Alderney’s environment. The AWT is a not for profit organisation, dependent on voluntary support, which helps to maintain two nature reserves and the island's internationally important wetland (Ramsar) site.