Our history

James Qualtrough

Fifty years caring for wildlife

Nearly fifty years after it was first established, Manx Wildlife Trust's work continues unabated.  Both the plight of our native wildlife and the importance of nature conservation, have never been higher.

It all began in 1970, when Felicity Cain and Elizabeth Hamm wrote a rousing letter to the Isle of Man Examiner, calling on island residents to do something in recognition of European Conservation Year. A meeting led to the formation of the Manx Nature Conservation Trust in March 1973. The first nature reserves were acquired a short time later: Barnell Reservoir in 1974 and Cooildarry in 1976. 

The 1980s 

  • The Ayres Visitor Centre was soon established and the Scarlett Visitor Centre opened in 1986. Nowadays they attract more than 2,500 each summer. 
  • Another four reserves were taken on in the latter half of the 1980s. 
  • A shop, with adjoining office, opened in Tynwald Mills in 1992 and the floor space of the shop was eventually doubled in 2000. 

The 1990s 

  • The 1990s saw a large expansion in the number of reserves owned by the Trust: ten were either purchased or donated during the decade. The Trust also got involved in a number of important ecological reports including, in 1995, the Manx Hill-land Report. 

Turn of the century 

  • The staff team expanded at the turn of the century, employing a Marine Officer and an Education Officer. 
  • 2001 saw the formation of the Wildflowers of Man project, with the aim of protecting and promoting native Manx wildflowers. 
  • An Education Officer was appointed in 2002 to work with schools and children's groups. 

A change of name 

  • Thirty years after it was established, the Manx Nature Conservation Trust became known as the Manx Wildlife Trust. With the dissolution of the Manx Basking Shark Society in 2006, MWT established the Manx Basking Shark Watch project. 
  • Also that year, the Wildlife Site project was established with the aim of identifying sites of significant nature conservation interest. 
  • In 2000 the Trust provided a warden service for the Ayres National Nature Reserve; this was followed, in 2006, with two additional wardens on the Calf of Man, for the government and Manx National Heritage respectively. The latter contract continues to this day, in partnership with Manx Birdlife. 

A new home 

  • 2011 saw the Manx Wildlife Trust move to its current home, in the heart of Peel. Offices sit above an information centre and the Wildlife Shop, profits from which help to fund the Trust's work. The same year saw the acquisition of MWT's twenty-first nature reserve, a 25 acres site in West Baldwin.