In News

A new ‘super’ National Nature Reserve (NNR) has been declared across the Mendip Hills, bridging together the existing Ebbor Gorge and Rodney Stoke National Nature Reserves, along with 29 nature-rich sites, many of which are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty area. Encompassing 1,413 ha of land, the new ‘super’ NNR will stretch from woodlands in England’s smallest city of Wells to across the southern Mendip slopes and Brean Down in the Severn estuary. Nine organisations will be working together in partnership on the new site — Natural England, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Avon Wildlife Trust, Mendip Hills AONB, the National Trust, Longleat and Cheddar Gorge Caves, the Butterfly Conservation, the Woodland Trust, and the South West Heritage Trust. This partnership will be at the heart of nature recovery in the Mendip Hills and will enable land managers to work together to maximise the benefits for nature, science, and people, improving nature recovery on a landscape-scale and creating more opportunities for people to connect with the natural world.

Rachael Fickweiler, Head of Nature Reserves and Land Management at Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: “Bringing together landowners and land managers to collaborate on a landscape-scale approach across the sites included in the new Mendip ‘super’ NNR is the best way to achieve nature’s recovery and our 30 by 30 ambitions for land under good management for nature. This is essential if we are to tackle the challenges we face, including climate change and the adaptation needed to respond to this threat to key Mendip species such as the adder and greater horseshoe bat; and issues such as the devastating impact that ash dieback disease has had on our Mendip trees and woodlands.”

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said: “Today’s declaration of the new Mendip National Nature Reserve is a huge step for Nature recovery, not just in Somerset but the country as a whole. This treasure trove of ancient woodlands, rich wildflower grasslands and stunning geology has national importance due to its habitats and sustains a huge variety of wildlife from birds to small mammals and from rare butterflies to plants found only here. Creating this new National Nature Reserve will be a step along the road of enhancing the biodiversity of the Mendip Hills making it a bigger, better and more joined up place for wildlife to thrive.  It also means this area is recognised for its importance to nature and people, where the local community has so many opportunities to connect with nature, history and the local heritage.”




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