The Lizard National Nature Reserve

Maritime heath-heather and coastline in September near Beagles Point, Coverack, The Lizard, Cornwall

On 31 August 2016, Natural England, The National Trust, and Cornwall Wildlife Trust announced that the Lizard National Nature Reserve had been extended making it one of the largest nature reserves in the South West.

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 a must for nature lovers.

The NNR on the Lizard has been 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 now stretches from Mullion Cove in the west, across Goonhilly Downs in the centre of the peninsula, to Lowland Point, near Coverack in the east. 

The extension of the Lizard NNR
A map to show the extension of the Lizard NNR
The extension of the Lizard NNR

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 to promote wildlife. We look forward to our shared future within the Lizard NNR.”

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. 

Some of the many species of flowers thriving on the Lizard NNR
The Lizard NNR Coastline adorned with wildflowers
Some of the many species of flowers thriving on the Lizard NNR

This extension is 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. For further information on the Lizard NNR, please visit click here