Press release: National Nature Reserves Week begins with a call to get hands on with nature

Natural England

May 19
23:01 2023

  • New annual celebration launched to highlight Englands most important havens for nature
  • A chance to dive in to experience nature with events and activities across the country from wildlife walks and bird-watching to fossil-hunting
  • 10 day event will champion the countrys 221 National Nature Reserves and the benefits they provide for nature & people

The first ever National Nature Reserves Week begins today (20 May 2023) with people up and down the country being encouraged to get out and about and explore nature in one of Englands 221 National Nature Reserves (NNRs).

Our NNRs boast a unique tapestry of flora, fauna and geological wonders and are home to over 17,000 species, spanning 106,000 hectares of protected habitat across every corner of England - approximately 0.7% of the countrys land surface.

National Nature Reserves Week (20 - 29 May 2023) is being marked with a host of activities a number of which are free of charge - which families up and down the country can enjoy. They include discovering fantastic wildlife on a All Things Beavers guided walk, putting detective skills to the test on a murder mystery trail, dragonfly and damselfly spotting, and a guided rock pool safari where kids and adults alike can learn about marine life.

Natural England Chief Executive, Marian Spain said:

I am delighted to come together with our partners to launch National Nature Reserves Week a chance for all of us to celebrate Englands remarkable wildlife and natural habitats.

National Nature Reserves for decades have played a vital role in conserving various species of plants and animals, but also provided an outdoor space for research and education, and opportunities to access, enjoy and engage with our natural heritage.

Whether you are visiting for the first time, or its a part of your daily walk, I invite everyone to explore one of the 221 National Nature Reserves nationwide and see whats on offer.

This new annual ten-day celebration will help to raise awareness of the critical role these reserves play in combatting climate change, boosting nature recovery, and preserving endangered species. It is hoped that it will inspire a new generation of nature champions and comes as Natural England celebrates the Coronation with a new Kings Series of 25 NNR declarations over the next five years, to support nature recovery and meet the ambitions of the Governments Environmental Improvement Plan.

The announcement follows Natural England marking 70 years since the first NNRs were declared last year. Since then, Englands National Nature Reserves have continued to play a crucial role in protecting nature, and are now at the heart of a growing nature recovery network - providing homes for different species of animals, birds, and plants to thrive.

Research has shown that NNRs managed by Natural England offer significant value for money, with a wide range of economic, environmental and societal benefits totalling 36 million.

To find out more and to find a celebratory event or a National Nature Reserve:

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