Top nature reserves

We look after some of the country's most important and interesting natural habitats. Discover fascinating wildlife, rare plants and flowers in our landscapes. Whether you're walking with the family, hiking with friends or finding a spot to sit and take it all in, these are unique places to visit for anyone with an interest in the natural world.

Blakeney Grey Seal

Blakeney Nature Reserve 

At the heart of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Blakeney National Nature Reserve boasts wide open spaces and uninterrupted views of the beautiful coastline. It's also home to the largest seal colony in England.

A girl looks at the view from the top of a large rock

Bridestones, Crosscliff and Blakey Topping, Yorkshire 

A 300 acre nature reserve, Bridestones is home to many animal and plant species. Look out for mosses, lichens, heather and Sundew. Sundew survives by capturing and digesting insects on its sticky leaves. Keep an eye out for adders basking in the early morning sun. On Blakey Topping you might spot the white flowers of the rare dwarf cornel.

Footpath and bench at Lizard Point, Cornwall

Lizard National Nature Reserve, Cornwall 

Famous for its unusual plants and geology, a walk through the grassland and heathland of the Lizard National Nature Reserve is a journey worth making. Look out for wild asparagus, native heathers and many varieties of clover. Listen out for Cornish choughs and keep your eyes pealed for stonechats and peregrines as well as dragonflies, toads, adders and even lizards.

Sand dunes and beach at Murlough

Murlough National Nature Reserve, Co. Down 

Walk through woodland and on boardwalks over the dunes on the edge of Dundrum Bay and the Mourne Mountains at Murlough National Nature Reserve. Look out for butterflies and wild flowers, as well as one of the finest beaches in Co. Down. The best example of dune heath within Ireland with over 600 species of butterflies and moths, one of which, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, is of European importance.

Swans and cygnet glide along the creek at Newton National Nature Reserve

Newtown National Nature Reserve, Hampshire 

See flower-rich hay meadows and ancient woodlands home to rare butterflies and red squirrels at Newtown National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Wight. Enjoy views over salt marsh and the clear waters of the harbour, alive with sea birds. You can also explore from the water and look out for the plentiful wetland wildlife.

Sandscale Haws

Sandscale Haws National Nature Reserve, Cumbria 

An unusual sandy estuary in the Lake District with panoramic views of the mountains. The dune grasslands are home to rare plants like the Dune Helleborine as well as one fifth of the national population of Natterjack Toads.

Otters swimming at Bosherston Lily Ponds

Stackpole, Pembrokeshire 

Stackpole Head and Bosherston Lakes are an internationally important nature reserve. The lakes are home to otters, heron, kingfisher, little grebe and moorhen. You can also spot dragonflies as well as rare freshwater plants. In the estate's woodland, look out for wrens, chiffchaffs, goldcrests, buzzards, tawny owls and sparrowhawks.

A red squirrel sitting on the branch of a tree

Nature and wildlife 

Learn more about our nature and wildlife conservation work.