News story

King's Coronation to leave a lasting legacy for people and nature

To celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, the government has announced the renaming of the England Coast Path, the creation of a King’s Series of National Nature Reserves, and new Coronation Woods.

  • England’s longest national trail to be renamed the ‘King Charles III England Coast Path’
  • ‘King’s Series of National Nature Reserves’ to be launched, with first to be declared in Lincolnshire
  • New ‘Coronation Woods’- large-scale woodland creation as part of the nation’s forests and funding for local communities to plant trees in the King’s honour.

To celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, the government will leave a lasting public legacy for people and nature with the renaming of the England Coast Path, the creation of a King’s Series of National Nature Reserves, and new Coronation Woods it has been announced (Monday 1st May).

As Prince of Wales, His Majesty expressed a deep love and concern for England’s wildlife, natural and rural places, frequently reflecting on his love of walking and its role in promoting a healthy mind and body. The plans will see:

  • The England Coast Path renamed the ‘King Charles III England Coast Path’ leaving a lasting legacy to be enjoyed by walkers around the entire English coastline. The King Charles III England Coast Path will be a 2,700 mile long National Trail around the whole of the English coast, passing through some of our finest countryside and some of England’s most stunning, dynamic, and internationally famous coastal scenery. Natural England has worked in partnership with local access authorities to open 794 miles of the route so far and the trail will be fully walkable by the end of 2024 – connecting communities from Northumberland to Cumbria via Cornwall;

  • The creation of a new ‘King’s Series of National Nature Reserves’, with five major National Nature Reserve (NNR) declarations per year for the next five years (25 in total). The first the ‘Lincolnshire Coronation Coast NNR’ will be declared by Natural England this summer and will be over 12 square miles and contain a wonderful variety of habitats including sand dunes, saltmarsh, mudflats and freshwater marshes, supporting many breeding and wintering birds, natterjack toads, special plants and insects. The remaining four ‘King’s Series National Nature Reserves’ for the 2023-2024 year will be announced at a later date, but are likely to include The Mendip Hills in Somerset, Moccas Park in Herefordshire, Ingleborough in North Yorkshire and Lullington in East Sussex. Now as we move from an era of Nature conservation to Nature recovery, this new ‘King’s Series’ of National Nature Reserves showcases our ambition for bigger, better and more connected spaces for nature – building on the 221 declared in the reign of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; and

  • The development of ‘Coronation Woods’, with Forestry England creating new woodland on land they buy and plant between April 2023 and March 2025. These will be the first official new woodlands created to recognise the Coronation of King Charles III. In addition, Defra will provide up to £2.5 million of funding for communities in England to plant trees as a permanent reminder of the Coronation in their local areas. The funding will support Local Authorities, Parish Councils and Housing Associations to deliver local planting initiatives including community orchards, small areas of woodland and ‘tree handouts’ – whereby trees are supplied to local residents to plant in areas of their choosing. This will create a wonderful variety of local wooded spaces that communities are involved in, allowing them to connect with nature on their doorsteps.

Thérèse Coffey, Environment Secretary said:

The King is a dedicated champion of nature in our country. He spearheaded efforts to move to more environmentally friendly farming techniques and through his Prince’s Foundation has sought to highlight how education can foster responsible stewardship towards the planet and the natural environment.

The Coronation marks the beginning of a new chapter in our national story and it’s fitting that nature and the public will benefit from these lasting commemorations for years to come.

As Prince of Wales, his Majesty has held number of patronages of wildlife and conservation charities including the Wildlife Trusts. He has also worked to encourage the private sector to work to respond to climate change and increase their focus on sustainability with more than 500 CEOs part of his Sustainable Markets Initiative including the heads of some of the world’s biggest financial institutions.

Through our Environmental Improvement Plan we want to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it and in this Coronation year even more people will get out and experience our incredible wildlife and landscapes.

Read more information on the renaming of the England Coastal Path.

Read more information on the creation of the King’s Series of Nature Reserves.

Read more information on the Coronation Woodland.

Notes to editors

King Charles III England Coast Path

  • In line with the spirit of sustainability championed by His Majesty, signage featuring the new name will only be installed as new stretches of the trail are established, with existing signage retained elsewhere along the route until it requires replacing
  • The next two sections of the King Charles III England Coast Path to open will be in Filey, North Yorks and Crosby Beach, Liverpool. Both sections will be opened on the 10 May. Please contact Defra press office for media attendance at the unveiling.
  • To celebrate the path’s gradual completion, a series of events will be held across England throughout the summer of 2023. Find out more about the events, or plan your route along the coastal path.

Kings Series of National Nature Reserves

  • National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are the most important places for nature in England, and provide significant benefits for nature conservation, science, and people.
  • Work leading to the declaration of the first 7 NNRs in England in 1952 took placed during the Second World War, laying a legacy for future generations. Over the last 70 years, during the reign of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 221 NNRs were declared, focussing on nature conservation and science and providing opportunities for people to enjoy nature.
  • The declaration of a further 25 largescale National Nature Reserves, during the first five years of the reign of King Charles III, will honour the King’s longstanding support for nature recovery as the focus moves from conservation to creating larger more joined up spaces for wildlife to thrive.
  • This Coronation year will also see the very first National Nature Reserves Week which will take place from 20th to 29th May 2023.

Coronation Woods

  • Land that Forestry England buys for new Coronation Woods will meet strict criteria and the new woodlands will become part of the nation’s forests - places for people to connect with nature and enjoy themselves, a home for wildlife to thrive and a vital source of sustainable timber to support jobs and industry.
Published 3 May 2023