Wildlife | Nature Reserves in Berkshire
Local Nature Reserves (or LNRs) are for both people and wildlife. They are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally, which give people special opportunities to study and learn about them or simply enjoy and have contact with nature.
There are over 600 LNRs in England today ranging from windswept coastal headlands, ancient woodlands and flower rich meadows to former inner city railways, long abandoned landfill sites and industrial areas. In total they cover over 29 000 ha, forming an impressive natural resource which makes an important contribution to England's biodiversity.
English Nature designates reserve status for areas of land, they recommend that they should be normally greater than 2ha in size and capable of being managed with the conservation of nature and/or the maintenance of special opportunities for study, research or enjoyment of nature as the priority concern and one or more of the following:
- Of high natural interest in the local context
- Of some reasonable natural interest and of high value in the local context for formal education or research
- Of some reasonable natural interest and of high value in the local context for the informal enjoyment of nature by the public
- There are many designated statuses of nature reserves around Berkshire and the UK, this depends on whether there are Nationally rare, or endangered species or habitats. This would be a National Nature Reserve (NNR). E.g. Burnham Beeches, Slough.
- An area which is of scientific interest, and that will be studied is called a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). E.g. Watts Reserve, Lambourn.
- An area of high scenic quality is designated by the Countryside Commission as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). E.g The Chilterns.
Learn about conservation methods in Reserve Management
In Berkshire and across the rest of Britain today, the survival of wildlife often takes second place to human activity, towns and road networks expand, woodlands make way for housing estates and rivers are polluted. Perhaps the most dramatic changes to our countryside have occurred because of developments in agriculture and forestry. Small fields, hedgerows with coppiced woodlands have in many cases been replaced by large fields with arable crops, sprayed with chemicals and cultivated by huge machines. The diversity of plants and animals have been seriously reduced because of these pressures to farming communities to increase food production.
In an effort to conserve what remains, nature reserves were created with the following main objectives:
- To act as wildlife havens that will encourage and protect all species visiting it, in a countryside that can no longer support the rich wildlife which used to be widespread in our countryside.
- To act as "reservoirs" of species, from which wildlife can spread back into the countryside if conditions become favourable.
- To act as places for scientific study of wildlife.
- To be places for the public to visit and enjoy, allowing people to appreciate and understand wildlife, and encouraging them to help protect it.