A bewildering array of notifications is used to protect and identify wildlife sites – made all the more confusing by the fact that some sites have more than one! (please note some of these links will take you out of the NWT website - please click back to return.)
County Wildlife Sites
At a county level, County Wildlife Sites (CWS) are sites of interest for wildlife in that county, but lying outside of the statutory sites. There are nearly 1300 CWS in Norfolk, most of which are privately owned and have no public access. These sites are given some protection through the planning system, with NWT playing the key role in advising on the protection of these sites. There is no legal constraint on the management of these sites, but NWT works with many landowners across Norfolk, giving help and support with management. CWS in Norfolk include Mousehold Heath in Norwich and Thwaite Common in North Norfolk.
Local Nature Reserves
Local Nature Reserves (LNR) are also notified by Natural England and are sites of conservation interest that are also used by the public.
The international and national designations given above ensure that these sites are given statutory protection from development and other impacts, as well as from inappropriate changes to management.
National Nature Reserves
At a national level, the statutory protected sites are National Nature Reserves (NNR) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). NNRs are nationally important sites, managed either by Natural England (the Government’s nature conservation body) or by approved bodies, such as Wildlife Trusts. NNRs in Norfolk include NWT Foxley Wood and NWT Hickling Broad.
SSSIs are considered the very best sites for wildlife or sometimes for geology, outside of the NNRs. They are often privately owned, but managed to a legally binding specification drawn up by Natural England. SSSIs in Norfolk include NWT Buxton Heath and NWT Holme Dunes.
At an international level, there are RAMSAR sites, which are wetlands notified for their value to birds, as well as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPA), which are collectively called Natura 2000 sites. These latter two were created, respectively, by the European Union’s Habitat Directive and Birds Directive in an attempt to give more protection to wildlife.
Please note that wildlife notifications do not confer a right of public access and access to a site needs to be checked before visiting it.