Natural England will leave a lasting public legacy for people and nature by creating of a King’s Series of National Nature Reserves to celebrate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.
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 creation of a new ‘King’s Series of National Nature Reserves’, with five major National Nature Reserves named every year for the next five years - 25 in total.
The first - the Lincolnshire Coronation Coast National Nature Reserve - will be declared by Natural England this summer. Over 12 square miles in area, it contains a wonderful variety of sand dunes, saltmarsh, mudflats and freshwater marshes, which support many breeding and wintering birds, natterjack toads, special plants and insects.
The remaining four National Nature Reserves for 2023-2024 will be confirmed 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.
As the government’s focus moves on from an era of nature conservation to nature recovery to create spaces for wildlife to thrive, this new series 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.
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:
For more than five decades our King has been at the forefront of thinking about the need to restore our depleted natural world. He has highlighted the vital importance of sustainable agriculture, questions of water security, solutions to climate change and the urgency of moving to a circular economy inspired by nature. He’s helped make progress on all these and other subjects while having people’s wellbeing at the centre of his ideas.
It is fitting that today Natural England begins the process of declaring 25 new National Nature Reserves that will be called the ‘King’s Series’, marking His Majesty’s Coronation and the new era of nature recovery that is now enshrined in national law and global agreements.
The National Nature Reserves are the jewels in the crown of England’s nature and they are there for wildlife and people alike. The first one in this new series will be a very substantial area of protected habitat on the Lincolnshire coast, through which a section of the England Coast Path will soon be opened by Natural England.
National Nature Reserves 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 seven NNRs in England in 1952 took place 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, focusing on nature conservation and science and providing opportunities for people to enjoy nature.
His Majesty has held number of patronages of wildlife and conservation charities, including the Wildlife Trusts. As Prince of Wales 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
This Coronation year will also see the very first National Nature Reserves Week which will take place from 20th to 29th May 2023.