The Effect of Tourism on Island Conservation; A Case Study of Hilbre Island, Wirral.

Carubia, Jennifer (2013) The Effect of Tourism on Island Conservation; A Case Study of Hilbre Island, Wirral. [Dissertation]

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Hilbre Island is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) site located within the Dee Estuary, off the North-West coast of England. The archipelago of three islands, of which Hilbre Island is the largest, is owned by Wirral Borough Council and maintained by volunteers from the Wirral Borough Council Coastal Rangers and the Friends of Hilbre Island Trust. A large number of visitors are received on the island throughout the year, inevitably increasing pressure on the landscape. This research sought to investigate, through qualitative and quantitative methods, the impact that visitors have on three selected footpaths on Hilbre Island, and how this erosion is linked with, and can be influenced by, a lack of information available at the site. Monthly visitor surveys indicated that visitors were generally unaware of the conservational status of the site and did not feel enough information was available to them; on the other hand, interviews with management bodies and people associated with the site demonstrated a general feeling of enough information being available, and opposition to new interpretation boards being erected. This study aimed to indicate the necessity of interpretation on the island and suggest methods of seeking a balance between the natural beauty of the site and provision of protection through visitor awareness in erecting one new interpretation board, and updating the current interpretation board on the island.

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