The range of landforms and habitats which make up the Solway Firth is outstanding, from the towering cliffs of the Mull of Galloway and St Bees Head to sand dunes and machair (low-lying fertile plain) around Luce Bay and Mawbray Bank and the extensive saltmarsh, sand and mudflats of the inner Solway. The Solway carries multiple national and international conservation designations including Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Ramsar wetlands, some of which span the national boundary. Perhaps the most iconic wildlife species is the barnacle goose, whose entire Svalbard population winters on the Solway.
The importance of the Solway landscape is reflected in designations including the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and three coastal National Scenic Areas. The Solway was the site of some of the earliest human habitation as well as some of the most bitter contests. Evidence of this history remains in a wealth of historical and archaeological sites including Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site. Poets, writers and artists who have found inspiration in the area include Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott and EA Hornell.