Local Wildlife Sites

Local Wildlife Sites

Local Wildlife Sites are special places recognised for having high wildlife value or containing rare or threatened habitats and species

An introduction to Local Wildlife Sites

Only a fraction of our important wildlife habitats are legally protected. For most habitats the scheme of national protection, as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, only covers a sample of sites that qualify.

Local Wildlife Sites (formerly known as County Wildlife Sites) are sites that support wildlife-rich habitats, or particularly important species, but which aren't protected nationally. In our three counties most of our important habitats are found within Local Wildlife Sites, and they are vital to supporting our biodiversity - without them most of our wildlife would be lost.

Local Wildlife Sites do get some protection from development in the planning system, but their value is poorly recognised and understood. Sadly they don't get the protection from inappropriate management that nationally protected sites enjoy. And as most Local Wildlife Sites are in private ownership, their long-term survival depends upon the interest and goodwill of their land managers and owners.

BBOWT works with partnerships, maintained by the local Environmental Record Centres and Local Authorities, in all three counties to identify these precious sites. Making sure they are regularly surveyed, and that owners of Local Wildlife Sites have support to manage them appropriately, has proved increasingly difficult to maintain.

Many of our own nature reserves are Local Wildlife Sites, which BBOWT has acquired because the lack of protection has left them vulnerable to agricultural intensification or development. Meadow Farm, in Oxfordshire, Yoesden in Buckinghamshire and Padworth Common in Berkshire are all Local Wildlife Sites.

Local Wildlife Sites in Berkshire

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For information and advice on specific sites in Berkshire, including species information, please contact Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre on 01865 815451.

Local Wildlife Sites in Buckinghamshire

For information and advice on specific sites in Buckinghamshire, including species information, please contact the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre on 01296 696012 or email erc@buckscc.gov.uk.

Local Wildlife Sites in Oxfordshire

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For information and advice on specific sites in Oxfordshire, including species information, please contact our Oxon Wildlife Sites Project Officer on 01865 775476 or email OWLS@bbowt.org.uk.

Oxfordshire Local Wildlife Sites project

The Oxfordshire Local Wildlife Sites Project provides free wildlife surveys and information about conservation.

BBOWT manages the project, in partnership with the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre, on behalf of the Oxfordshire local authorities. Our leaflet, below, explains more about what we do.

We can offer:

  • free wildlife surveys,
  • expert advice about conservation management,
  • information about grant aid.
A Short Guide to Local Wildlife Sites

A Short Guide to Local Wildlife Sites

Download the guide
Greenham Common, West Berkshire Living Landscape, by Rob Appleby
Living Landscapes

Working beyond nature reserves

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Badger by Bertie Gregory/2020Vision

nature matters

Campaigning for local wildlife

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Support us

Join the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust

Joining your local Wildlife Trust is the best thing you can do to help wildlife in your area. We rely on the support of people like you to help us protect the wildlife and wild places of our three counties.

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