5 Sustainable Travel Destinations in the United Kingdom
Are you planning on a trip and you don’t know where to take your next adventure? Well, think of the United Kingdom, a place full of magic that holds basalt stones where giants may have walked, an ancient seabird based civilization, and even an Inaccessible island that is called home to the most unique endemic species never talked about on Social Media. The United kingdom is one of the best eco-friendly destination for travelers even though there are places that you are not allowed to visit. Its beautiful landscapes are ideal for artists, weekend warriors and hikers. Every nook and cranny is a place of natural beauty, with protected coastlines that stretch with infinite horizons during a sunset. Looking to explore real life magic or find something you’ve never heard of before? Discover our list of Sustainable Eco-destinations in the United Kingdom and be mesmerized by the wonder that it holds.
Henderson Island is a remote and uninhabited elevated coral atoll located in the eastern South Pacific. It is the largest of the four islands of the Pitcairn Island group of which only Pitcairn, lying 200 km to its southwest, is inhabited. Covering some 3,700 ha but unsuitable for agriculture and with little fresh water, the island has no major land mass within a 5,000 km radius.
This gem in the middle of the Pacific is one of the world’s best remaining examples of an elevated coral atoll ecosystem. It exhibits remarkable biological diversity given the island’s size, with four endemic species of land birds, ten taxa of endemic vascular plants and large breeding seabird colonies. It is of Outstanding Universal Value due to the comparatively low level of disturbance which provides a key for baseline information on similar atolls, and its isolation makes it ideal for studying the dynamics of island evolution and natural selection.
Dorset and East Devon Coast
The Dorset and East Devon Coast has an outstanding combination of globally significant geological and geomorphological features. The property comprises eight sections along 155km of largely undeveloped coast. The property’s geology displays approximately 185 million years of the Earth’s history, including a number of internationally important fossil localities. The property also contains a range of outstanding examples of coastal geomorphological features, landforms and processes, and is renowned for its contribution to earth science investigations for over 300 years, helping to foster major contributions to many aspects of geology, palaeontology and geomorphology. This coast is considered by geologists and geomorphologists to be one of the most significant teaching and research sites in the world.
Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast
The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast is a spectacular area of global geological importance on the sea coast at the edge of the Antrim plateau in Northern Ireland. The most characteristic and unique feature of the site is the exposure of some 40,000 large, regularly shaped polygonal columns of basalt in perfect horizontal sections, forming a pavement. This dramatic sight has inspired legends of giants striding over the sea to Scotland. Celebrated in the arts and in science, it has been a visitor attraction for at least 300 years and has come to be regarded as a symbol for Northern Ireland.
The property’s accessible array of curious geological exposures and polygonal columnar formations formed around 60 million years ago make it a ‘classic locality’ for the study of basaltic volcanism. The features of the Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast site and in particular the strata exposed in the cliff faces, have been key to shaping the understanding of the sequences of activity in the Earth’s geological history.
Gough and Inaccessible Islands
Gough and Inaccessible Islands are two extraordinary uninhabited oceanic islands that have remained relatively undisturbed, and are therefore of special conservation significance. Gough Island is one of the largest cool-temperate oceanic islands in the world that remains close to pristine, having been spared most introductions of invasive species that have decimated unique island biodiversity elsewhere. While Inaccessible Island is smaller, it is of no lesser significance, housing a number of species endemic to this tiny speck in the South Atlantic Ocean.
The spectacular cliffs of each island, towering above the ocean, host some of the most important seabird colonies in the world. These include albatrosses, petrels, and penguins, reliant on the rich marine life surrounding them. Gough Island is home to two endemic species of land birds as well as twelve endemic plant species. Inaccessible Island also boasts three endemic subspecies and one endemic species of land bird – the Inaccessible Rail, which is the smallest flightless bird in the world –, and some eight endemic plant species. This island is also the only place where the Spectacled Petrel breeds, while the Atlantic Petrel and the Tristan Albatross are almost entirely restricted to breeding on Gough. The islands’ undisturbed nature makes them particularly valuable for biological research.
The tiny archipelago of St Kilda, lying off the west coast of mainland Scotland, is breathtaking. Formed from the rim of an ancient volcano associated with the opening up of the North Atlantic some 65-52 million years ago, the intensely dramatic, jagged landscape of towering cliffs – some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe – and sea stacks present stark black precipitous faces plunging from steep grass-green slopes in excess of 375m. Scenically, every element appears vertical, except the smooth amphitheatre of VillageBay on Hirta with its relict historic landscape. Exposure to some of the greatest wave heights and strongest wind speeds in Europe plays a major role in shaping the coastal ecology.
With nearly one million seabirds present at the height of the breeding season, St Kilda supports the largest seabird colony in the north-east Atlantic, its size and diversity of global significance making it a seabird sanctuary without parallel in Europe. The very high bird densities that occur in this relatively small area, conditioned by the complex and different ecological niches existing in the site and the productivity of the surrounding sea, make St Kilda unique. Of particular significance are the populations of Northern Gannet, Atlantic Puffin and Northern Fulmar. The sight and sound of these myriad seabirds adds significantly to the scenic value and to the experience of the archipelago during the breeding season.
The islands’ isolation has led to two outstanding examples of remote island ecological colonisation and subsequent genetic divergence in the two endemic sub-species, the St Kilda Wren and St Kilda Fieldmouse. The feral Soay sheep, so much a feature of the landscape, represent an ancient breed, descendents of the most primitive domestic sheep found in Europe. They provide a living testament to the longevity of human occupation of St Kilda and, in addition, are a potentially significant genetic resource.
The combination of oceanic influences (proximity of deep ocean currents along the continental slope, extreme exposure to waves and oceanic swell, high water clarity) and local geology around the archipelago has created a marine environment of unparalleled richness and colour. The seabed communities are outstanding in terms of biodiversity and composition, including ‘northern’ and ‘southern’ species at the extremes of their range. The plunging underwater rock faces are festooned with sea life – a kaleidoscope of colour and form kept in constant motion by the Atlantic swell, creating an underwater landscape of breathtaking beauty. The complex ecological dynamic in the marine environment is essential to maintenance of both the terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
Overlaying the spectacular natural landscape and giving scale to it all, is a rich cultural landscape that bears exceptional testimony to millennia of human occupation. Recent research indicates that the archipelago has been occupied on and off for over 4000 years. The landscape including houses, large enclosures and cleits – unique drystone storage structures found, in their hundreds, across the islands and stacks within the archipelago – culminates in the surviving remains of the nineteenth and twentieth century cultural landscape of Village Bay. The time depth, preservation and completeness of the physical remains, provides a tangible and powerful link to the islands’ past history, its people and their way of life, a distinctive existence, shaped by the St Kildan’s response to the peculiar physical and geographic setting of the islands.
The islands provide an exceptionally well preserved and documented example of how, even in the most extreme conditions of storm-swept isolated island living, people were able to live for thousands of years from exploiting natural resources and farming. They bear physical witness to a cultural tradition that has now disappeared, namely reliance on seabird products as the main source of livelihood and sustenance, alongside subsistence farming. These age-old traditions and land uses that have so shaped the landscape, have also unquestionably contributed to its aesthetic appeal.
St Kilda represents subsistence economies everywhere – living off the resources of land and sea and changing them over time, until external pressures led to decline, and, in 1930, to the abandonment of the islands. The poignancy of the archipelago’s history, and the remarkable fossilised landscape, its outstanding and spectacular natural beauty and heritage, its isolation and remoteness, leave one in awe of nature and of the people that once lived in this spectacular and remarkable place.