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National designated sites: nature reserves

Nature reserves (NNRs) are land established under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and managed:

  • for the purpose of research and study of flora and fauna or geological and physiographical features; and/or
  • for the preservation of such special features.

National Nature Reserves may be established and declared by the statutory nature conservation agencies and managed by them or an approved body. Local authorities may also establish nature reserves and declare them Local Nature Reserves, provided the relevant statutory nature conservation agency approves.

Information about how conservation bodies purchase nature reserves as a way of conserving wildlife and their habitats is available here.

Nature reserves are not off limits, but we do have certain responsibilities to them:

  • If you are an owner of a nature reserve and have entered into a nature reserve agreement with a conservation agency, you have an obligation to manage your property in a manner sympathetic to continued wildlife and habitat protection and conservation.
  • If you live near a nature reserve or intend to visit one, you have a duty to obey the by-laws and the Countryside Code that governs them and to respect the property rights of the owner. You also have a responsibility to respect and take an active interest in caring for the wildlife and the habitats that are hosted by the nature reserve.

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