Location rankings

Rank Title Description Species total
1 Wicken Fen

A classic fen wetland site in Cambridgeshire. Owned by the National Trust. First NT acquisition was 1899 (2 acres) and over 50 conveyances later the land area is 770 ha, of which 255 ha is SSSI/SAC and 170 ha is the high quality, ancient undrained sedge fen. In 1999, the NT launched its 'Wicken Fen Vision', an ambitious project to expand the nature reserve to 3500 ha over the following 100 years. From 1999 to 2014, 420 ha of arable land has been bought and is in the process of being restored for nature.

2 Esher Commons

Heath and woodland complex in Surrey famous for having the longest fungus list on the planet!! Its woodlands also have third longest Sapro beetle list in UK, its historic bug list is the longest for a single site!

3 RSPB Minsmere

It all started with Avocets, but Minsmere now has Ant-lions, Red-tipped Cudweed, Sea Pea, White-mantled Wainscot, and lots more besides.  The reserve contains many different habitats and is blessed with a prime location on the Suffolk coast, so it is not surprising that it is first in the RSPB rankings.

4 Dawlish Warren

Dawlish Warren is a double sand spit situated at the mouth of the Exe Estuary in south Devon. It is a SSSI & SAC and is part of the larger Exe Estuary SPA and Ramsar site. The Recording Area covers approximately 200ha of which less than 60ha are terrestrial habitats. The majority of the Recording Area is mudflats and offshore sandbars, but despite its small size the Warren has a wide variety of other habitats; mobile & fixed dune, dune slack, acid grassland, scrub, ponds, reedbed and saltmarsh.

5 Thorne Moors, South Yorkshire/Lincolnshire

The largest lowland raised mire in Britain, with associated heathland, birch woodland, willow carr, fen meadows, and on the western edge, a colliery spoil heap and saline ditches and pools. SSSI, SPA for nightjar, SAC for recovering cut-over mire, Ramsar site.

6 RSPB Abernethy

Like Minsmere, this reserve was founded on a rare bird that was just starting to recolonise Britain.  Abernethy has grown since to include a wonderful tract of Scots pine woodland and the high tops of the Cairngorms.  The long list includes more than 850 rare or scarce species.

7 Rye Harbour Sussex Wildlife Trust

A Sussex Wildlife Trust reserve in East Sussex. Main habitats are coastal vegetated shingle and grazing marsh with ditches. Total species is now fully accurate, based on the master species list derived from the SxBRC. Monarch and Beautiful Marbled have been added in 2017 so far.

8 RSPB The Lodge

The RSPB's headquarters reserve benefits from lunchtime attention from naturalists among the staff, ever keen to add to its list.  The site has a remnant of heathland, set among clearfell conifer plantations, former arable fields, and small patches of trees that would be accused of delusions of grandeur if they called themselves woodland.  It does not support an array of great rarities, but it has a respectable deadwood fauna, and it is a good fungus site.

9 Hatfield Forest

A 400 ha (1000 acre) medieval hunting forest, in West Essex, with wood pasture and hundreds of veteran trees, coppice, a lake and smal wetland areas. Owned and managed by the National Trust. Very important for its old trees and the saproxylic invertebrate community.

10 Ebernoe Common & Butcherlands Sussex Wildlife Trust

An exceptionally rich ancient woodland with adjacent rewilding project that focuses on producing a rich sward as well as having open-ended goals. Ebernoe itself is designated for its rare bats, fungi, birds, deadwood invertebrates and lichens.



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