Wildlife conservation had cause to celebrate this month, with the launch of England’s newest national nature reserve – the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths NNR.

Home to an astonishing 3000+ species, including many rare and special ones such as Dartford warbler, Nightjar and Southern damselfly, NNR status is a major accolade for this environmentally significant site and the second NNR for our region.

What is an NNR?

Joining the Undercliffs NNR that sits on the coast between Axmouth and Lyme Regis, the Pebblebed Heaths NNR, which includes the existing Pebblebed Heaths SSSI area plus additional heathland areas such as Mutters Moor, will be managed under an operational management partnership of the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust.

East Devon National Landscape Partnership manager Chris Woodruff will chair an NNR Board, providing strategic guidance and support to the development and management of the site:

“It is an exciting time for this most recent of NNRs and a true honour to be elected Chair of the new Advisory Board for the NNR. We have a great team on the new Board that brings with it a wealth of experience and knowledge from a variety of backgrounds. I hope I can play my part with them in furthering the aims of the Pebblebed Heaths NNR in support of its wildlife and local communities”.

Read Chris Woodruff’s article about the NNR and the importance of the site, for our region and nationally.

There are 224 National Nature Reserves across England which represent and help protect the best places for England’s biodiversity and geodiversity. NNRs are expected to support society through:

• Conservation management at scale that enables restoration of ecological processes
• Catalysing nature recovery across wide landscapes above and beyond those of the NNR footprint
• Building strong connections between nature and local communities and supporting health and wellbeing and the green economy
• Functioning as outdoor laboratories where best science-led conservation practices can be developed and promoted.

NNR status will help enable the Pebblebed Heaths to meet the challenges of the 21st century for climate, wildlife and people and a positive endorsement of the strong management track record of all parties concerned with caring for the site to date.

View the full online launch event here

Designated in 2020, the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths was formally on 13 May 2021, by Marion Spain and Tony Juniper CBE, Chief Executive and Chairman of Natural England.