The River Ribble floodplain at Long Preston is of national importance because the flat valley bottom and river features support unique wetland flora and fauna.


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The project area is of national importance for nature conservation and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for breeding wading bird populations, aquatic flora and the rare northern spike rush. It is a haven for birds and other wildlife.

Breeding Wading Birds

The floodplain is important for several species of breeding wading bird of conservation concern. These birds come to the floodplain in spring every year to nest and raise their young before leaving the floodplain, usually by late July, after their chicks have fledged. It is known that there are at least sixty pairs of breeding wading birds on the floodplain.

Each of the species has its own unique courtship displays. Snipe display-dive and spread their tail feathers to make an unmistakable drumming sound. Lapwing can be seen twisting and turning in the sky and plunging down to the ground with their distinctive Ôpee-weetÕ call. Curlew with long curved bills, have a drawn out mournful song. Redshank are less obvious birds but can be spotted by their long red legs and sharp alarm call. Oystercatcher are brightly coloured birds with an orange bill and black and white body.

snipeTheir voice is very loud especially as they wheel around overhead.

Each species has slightly different habitat requirements to breed successfully. However, they all require access to soft ground, small shallow pools, a variety of grassland heights and structure, low cattle stocking and late cutting of meadows.

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