Fishermen return to the beach, Longis
Alderney consists of an archipelago of small islands, with one main landmass (Alderney itself) and numerous islets and reefs. In turn, this chain of islands encloses 60km² of sea which, uniquely within the British Isles, belongs outright to the island and its resident community.
Where is Alderney?
Alderney lies at the southern-most edge of the English Channel and at the northern limit of the Bay Normand-Breton. The island is around 100km from its nearest British port to the north, Portland and the same distance from the nearest French port, St. Malo, due south. Yet it lies just 13km from the northern tip of the Cotentin peninsula and the Goury Lighthouse. This places the island within the influence of both continental European and British landmasses and locates it directly along the flyway of many migratory species.
Habitats & Climate
With around 1,000 hectares of terrestrial and 16,000 hectares of marine environment, Alderney contains a bit of everything: from woodland to wetland; scrubland, grassland and heathland; sandy beaches and dunes 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 and diverse 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 the majority of 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. Check out our local weather station to see what our weather is like at the moment.
The island’s history
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 a cultural landscape, with every part of Alderney impacted by human habitation. Be it the 18 coastal forts and batteries and the 1km long breakwater built in the 1850s, the introduction of rabbits by the Romans, or the 70 plus quarries which pepper the island, it is impossible to separate Alderney’s heritage and natural landscape. By considering the island’s past we can better plan to maintain the island’s biodiversity for the future.