National nature reserve (United Kingdom)

Some statutory nature reserves are designated by national bodies in the United Kingdom, and are known as national nature reserves.[1][2]

The marshes at Stodmarsh - - 88636
Stodmarsh, a National Nature Reserve in Kent.

Great Britain

In Great Britain, nature reserves designed under Part III of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 that are deemed to be of national importance may be designated as statutory 'national nature reserves' by the relevant national nature conservation body (Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage, or Natural Resources Wales) using section 35(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

If a nature reserve is designated by a local authority in Great Britain, then the resulting statutory nature reserve will be referred to as a local nature reserve.


In England, 224 national nature reserves have been designated by Natural England.


In Scotland, the 43 national nature reserves are designated by Scottish Natural Heritage.[3]


In Wales, 67 national nature reserves have been designated by Natural Resources Wales.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, statutory nature reserves are designated by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency under the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.[4] There are 47 NNRs in Northern Ireland.

See also


  1. ^ Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (c.69) Section 35: National nature reserves
  2. ^ National Nature Reserves at official Natural England website. Retrieved 1 Aug 2014.
  3. ^ "About NNRs". Scottish Natural Heritage. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  4. ^ S.I. 1985/170
Local nature reserve

Local nature reserve (LNR) is a designation for nature reserves in Great Britain. The designation has its origin in the recommendations of the Wild Life Conservation Special Committee which established the framework for nature conservation in the United Kingdom and suggested a national suite of protected areas comprising national nature reserves, conservation areas (which incorporated suggestions for Sites of Special Scientific Interest), national parks, geological monuments, local nature reserves and local educational nature reserves.

There are now over 1,280 LNRs in England, covering almost 40,000 hectares, which range from windswept coastal headlands and ancient woodlands to former inner city railways and long abandoned landfill sites.

National nature reserve (Scotland)

The national nature reserves (NNRs) of Scotland are areas of land or water designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as containing habitats and species of national importance. National nature reserves can be owned by public, private, community or voluntary organisations but must be managed to conserve their important habitats and species, as well as providing opportunities for the public to enjoy and engage with nature. There are currently 43 NNRs in Scotland, which cover 154,250 hectares (1,542.5 km2), or less than 1.5% of the land area of Scotland. They range in size from Corrieshalloch Gorge at 7 ha to Mar Lodge Estate, which covers 29,324 ha.National nature reserve status is an accolade awarded to the best nature reserves in Scotland, and the selected sites provide examples of nationally or internationally important species and habitats. NNRs are intended to showcase Scotland's nature, and as well as being well managed for wildlife they must be managed to provide opportunities for the public to visit and enjoy them. NNRs therefore generally have facilities such as visitor centres and trails to allow visitors to explore and understand the habitats or wildlife they contain.Most NNRs in Scotland are also designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Many also form part of the Natura 2000 network, which covers Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation. Additionally, some of the NNRs are designated as Ramsar sites.

St Kilda, Scotland

St Kilda (Scottish Gaelic: Hiort) is an isolated archipelago situated 64 kilometres (40 mi) west-northwest of North Uist, in the North Atlantic Ocean. It contains the westernmost islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The largest island is Hirta, whose sea cliffs are the highest in the United Kingdom. Three other islands (Dùn, Soay and Boreray) were also used for grazing and seabird hunting. The islands are administratively a part of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar local authority area.The origin of the name St Kilda is a matter of conjecture. The islands' human heritage includes numerous unique architectural features from the historic and prehistoric periods, although the earliest written records of island life date from the Late Middle Ages. The medieval village on Hirta was rebuilt in the 19th century, but illnesses brought by increased external contacts through tourism, and the upheaval of the First World War contributed to the island's evacuation in 1930. The story of St Kilda has attracted artistic interpretations, including Michael Powell's film The Edge of the World and an opera.Permanent habitation on the islands possibly extends back at least two millennia, the population probably never exceeding 180 (and certainly no more than 100 after 1851). The entire remaining population was evacuated from Hirta (the only inhabited island) in 1930. The islands house a unique form of stone structure known as cleitean. A cleit is a stone storage hut or bothy; whilst many are still to be found, they are slowly falling into disrepair. There are known to be 1,260 cleitean on Hirta and a further 170 on the other group islands. Currently, the only year-round residents are military personnel; a variety of conservation workers, volunteers and scientists spend time there in the summer months.The entire archipelago is owned by the National Trust for Scotland. It became one of Scotland's six World Heritage Sites in 1986, and is one of the few in the world to hold mixed status for both its natural and cultural qualities. Parties of volunteers work on the islands in the summer to restore the many ruined buildings that the native St Kildans left behind. They share the island with a small military base established in 1957.Two different early sheep types have survived on these remote islands, the Soay, a Neolithic type, and the Boreray, an Iron Age type. The islands are a breeding ground for many important seabird species including northern gannets, Atlantic puffins, and northern fulmars. The St Kilda wren and St Kilda field mouse are endemic subspecies.

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