Natural England - Local Nature Reserves

Local Nature Reserves

A Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is for both people and wildlife. LNRs offer people special opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply to enjoy it.

All district and county councils have powers to acquire, declare and manage LNRs. To qualify for LNR status, a site must be of importance for wildlife, geology, education or public enjoyment. Some are also nationally important Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

LNRs must be controlled by the local authority through ownership, lease or agreement with the owner. The main aim must be to care for the natural features which make the site special.

How many Local Nature Reserves are there?

There are now more than 1500 LNRs in England. They range from windswept coastal headlands, ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows to former inner city railways, abandoned landfill sites and industrial areas now re-colonised by wildlife. In total they cover about 35,000 ha. This is an impressive natural resource which makes an important contribution to England's biodiversity.

Find a Local Nature Reserveexternal link


  • Why declare Local Nature Reserves?

    By declaring Local Nature Reserves (LNRs), local authorities can provide many benefits for both people and wildlife.


  • How are Local Nature Reserves declared?

    Local Nature Reserve (or LNR) is a statutory designation made under Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, and amended by Schedule 11 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, by principal local authorities.


  • How are Local Nature Reserves managed?

    Local authorities, often in partnership with other bodies, manage Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) to maintain and enhance their special wildlife and geology and provide access to nature for local communities.


  • How can I get involved?

    To find out if there are Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) in your area and who manages them, contact the Countryside Section or Leisure Services Department of your local council.