Today is world rock day. The United Kingdom is home to many rocky habitats, typically found in upland areas. Many of these areas are in areas untouched by humans and feature some of our rarest and most beautiful flora and fauna.
Cliffs, crags and rocky outcrops are common in the UK. Ring ouzels often nest in cracks, and golden eagles, ravens and peregrine falcons nest on cliffs. Lizards and insects find their perfect home in rocky habitats, hiding away in cracks, often in microhabitats away from the reach of predators. Of particular note in the UK, grikes are gaps between blocks in limestone pavements which provide perfect shelter for a wide array of life.
Although rocky habitats are great places to visit, one should be aware of conservation risks and take care not to disturb habitats. Ring ouzel habitats are often inadvertently tampered with, rocky outcrops and limestone pavement should be explored with great care and awareness. Peregrine falcons and golden eagles are protected species of great concern, as both these great fact significant threats, including from pesticides, illegal persecution and loss of prey. Issues in grouse moor management are often at play.
As well as taking care not to disturb animals in rocky habitats, the best way you can help is to ensure that you only buy rocks for your garden that have not been quarried from limestone pavements. This is to help combat the destruction of habitats for our nation’s wildlife.
I would encourage you to visit the natural rocky habitats across our nation to see their beauty for yourself, but urge you to take care to ensure that our wildlife is preserved for future generations. We all have the responsibility to steward the natural world. Rocky habitats and areas may sometimes like desolate to us, but many animals find their homes there.