From rugged coastal heathland to dramatic mountain views, explore the geology and landscape of this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Discover a diversity of seabirds, plant and marine life – including some of Europe’s largest hen harrier and chough populations
Human and natural history intersect as we learn more about the island’s Celtic, Viking and early Christian past
"He is extremely knowledgeable and delightfully enthusiastic, while at the same time making everyone feel included, whatever their level of knowledge"
ACE customer on a previous tour with Kevin Hand
Nestled in the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man boasts a unique accolade: an independent crown dependency, it is the only entirely self-governing territory to have been awarded UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, reflecting a harmonious relationship between people and nature. Visitors to its shores soon discover why: the island’s remarkable human history, dating back to 6500 BC, has left evocative traces on the landscape alongside some of the most captivating seascapes and clifftops in the world.
Our tour has been carefully designed to reflect this balance between humans and nature. From a base in historical Castletown – the island’s former capital – we will explore several of its most rewarding natural environments. The heather moorland of Dalby Mountain Reserve will introduce us to a wide variety of birdlife including chough, hen harrier, snipe and red grouse; while a rich array of wildlife will greet us at the Ballaugh Curraghs Ramsar wetland, an internationally recognised site of biodiversity. A visit to coastal areas in the south will present some of the best opportunities to see seabirds including kittiwakes, fulmars and black guillemots; and in the north, the stark beauty of the landscape will come alive as we walk along the rare lichen-rich coastal heathland of the Point of Ayre.
Providing a cultural counterpoint to the natural elements, our tour will also touch on the island’s 10,000 year-old social and political history. Founded in the 5th century AD, Maughold parish church is home to several historically important Celtic crosses: the Pillar Cross displays one of the oldest ‘three legs of man’ – or triskelions – on the island.
We will engage further with the island’s past with a visit to Douglas’s Heritage Museum, which touches on more recent WWI and WWII history, and the Leece Museum in Peel, home to a fascinating array of local objects including the last birching stool to be used on the island. Our excursion to this picturesque fishing port will also take us via Tynwald Hill in St John’s, thought to be the oldest continuous parliament site in the world, originally founded by Norse settlers.
We will stay at the historical three-star George Hotel in Castletown, conveniently located for many of our visits.
This tour will be led by Kevin Hand, MSc, MCIEEM, a conservationist and environmental consultant with a special interest in birds, mammals and ecotourism. Kevin has led many projects linking nature and communities, and was a Director of the Tree Council in the UK for 13 years. He has overseen a team providing access to the British countryside for hard to reach groups, and a project on eagles, vultures and other wildlife in Albania. He has also taken on the role of President of the Cambridge Natural History Society.
Please contact the office
for more details.
Included: Accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, two lunches (one packed), six dinners with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not Included: Return travel, travel insurance, single room supplement £175, double room for single use supplement £245.