Location rankings

Rank Title Description Species total
1 Wicken Fen (NT)

Wicken Fen nature reserve, Cambs, is owned by the National Trust. The first land acquisition was in 1899. The core of Wicken Fen is 255 ha of SSSI/SAC and 170 ha is the high quality, ancient undrained sedge fen. The total site is approaching 800 hectares as arable deep drained farmland has been bought and restored. Wicken has a very long history of natural history recording, with the earliest data from pre-1880. Significant effort in recording was carried out in the 1920s, 1990s, and since the Wicken Fen Vision was launched in 1999.

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 Hatfield Forest (NT)

Hatfield Forest is a unique site and one of the National Trust’s most important properties for nature conservation. It is a historic medieval Forest with a large area (c. 200 ha) of wood pasture with hundreds of veteran and ancient pollards. The grasslands are also ancient with undisturbed soils (never been ploughed) and a long continuity of summer cattle grazing. Scrub is also an important feature and is well represented. There are also over 200 ha of ancient woodlands, which include some very old oak coppice stools.

8 Wimpole Hall Estate (NT) 2022

A classic National Trust estate of 994 hectares with Hall, Garden, Listed Park with open grown old trees, stream and lakes, and farmland and woodland beyond the Park. The inhand arable farmland and grassland has been organic since 2008 with wide field margins, good hedges. Impressive Coleoptera list of over 1000 species, good Diptera and Hemiptera lists. Some commissioned insect surveys undertaken recently, but need more regular moth trapping. Plant data good. Wimpole is remarkably rich in species for its location in south-west Cambridgeshire, surrounded by intensive arable agriculture.

9 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.

10 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.



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