In spite of the body blows served to the town by the contraction of its traditional ship-building industry, Barrow has undergone something of a renaissance in recent years. For birders, however, the jewel in the crown is almost certainly Walney Bird Observatory.
The reserve at the southern tip of Walney Island is managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and is an active bird-ringing station. The mixture of mud-flats, saltmarsh, and dune systems makes it an attractive proposition for many species, and its position, in the SW of the county makes it a prime sea-watching point.
Specialities include overwintering divers and grebes, passage seabirds, including Manx Shearwater, and sea ducks. Very large numbers of waders can be seen during the winter.