The Lizard in Cornwall to becomes one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the South West

177487smNatural England, The National Trust, and Cornwall Wildlife Trust are pleased to announce that the Lizard National Nature Reserve will be extended from today (31st August 2016).

The Lizard Peninsula is one of the best locations in the country for wildlife, with a wealth of rare plants, invertebrates and habitats that make visiting the area is a must for nature lovers.

The NNR on the Lizard will be extended by 466ha (from 1960ha) to include additional wildlife rich areas in the care of The National Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust. The enlarged reserve will stretch from Mullion Cove in the west, across Goonhilly Downs in the centre of the peninsula, to Lowland Point, near Coverack in the east.

National Nature Reserves give recognition to the very best sites for wildlife.  The Lizard NNR, first declared in the 1970s and managed by Natural England, covers nearly 2000ha of spectacular heath and coastline. Here you will find an amazing diversity of thriving wildlife, including especially rare and unusual plants with the heathland, coastal cliff vegetation and temporary ponds, being of international importance.

The extended reserve will include iconic National Trust coastline, including Kynance Cove, Lizard Point and Black Head, as well as Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s flagship nature reserve, Windmill Farm, which is jointly owned with Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society. Much of the land to be declared is Site of Special Scientific Interest, plus it will include some coastal farmland managed for wildlife. The new NNR areas will continue to be managed for nature by the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and their tenants, supported by agri-environment schemes, and with advice from Natural England.

Phil Bowler, Senior Reserves Manager for Natural England in Cornwall said “We’re excited to be able to announce this extension to the Lizard NNR, which gives the peninsula the wider recognition it deserves, as one of the nation’s best places for wildlife.”

Rachel Holder, Area Ranger for The National Trust said “The National Trust has held conservation at the core of what we do for many decades, and the declaration of our land as NNR is testament to the hard work and careful stewardship of our many farm tenants along the coast.”

Callum Deveney, Head of Nature Reserves for Cornwall Wildlife Trust said “The various conservation organisations on the Lizard have been working closely together for some time, as the Linking the Lizard partnership which has launched a website the-lizard.org to promote wildlife. We look forward to our shared future within the Lizard NNR.”

Andrew Sells, Chairman of Natural England said: ‘The Lizard National Nature Reserve was first established 40 years ago and Natural England is very proud to play such a key role in its extension today. With so many partners committed to the common cause, I believe that its success will ensure the continuing protection of countless species of flora and fauna and enable visitors to enjoy, and learn about, this unique landscape for generations to come.’

The Lizard National Nature Reserve, one of 224 in England, is famous for its rare plants, including dwarf rush, wild asparagus and Cornish heath, and the peninsula is a stronghold for the sadly much declined marsh fritillary butterfly. Chough, peregrine and raven soar above the cliffs, and the heathland puddles support a wealth of rare beetles.

This extension will be the largest NNR declaration in the south west in over 20 years.

Much of the NNR is open to the public, and the South West Coast Path encircles the peninsula. The Lizard NNR partners are developing plans to celebrate the extension of the NNR with events in summer 2017. For further information on the Lizard NNR, please visit the-lizard.org.

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