First King’s Series National Nature Reserve on Lincolnshire coast

King Charles meets a group at the Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes National Nature Reserve
HM King Charles III visited the new Lincolnshire Coronation Coast National Nature Reserve in July 2023.

Natural England's new Lincolnshire Coronation Coast National Nature Reserve is the first in the new King’s Series and aims to support nature recovery and connect people with nature.

Natural England has today (Monday 18 September) launched a new National Nature Reserve on the Greater Lincolnshire coast which marks the first in the new King’s Series of National Nature Reserves committed to enhancing biodiversity and nature recovery while connecting people with nature.

The Lincolnshire Coronation Coast National Nature Reserve (LCCNNR) covers 33 square kilometres along almost 30 kilometres of the Greater Lincolnshire coast, making it the ninth largest National Nature Reserve in the country. The area contains a rich variety of sand dunes, salt marshes, mudflats and freshwater marshes which are of international importance.

The LCCNNR brings together the existing Donna Nook and Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes National Nature Reserves, adding a further 2350 hectares of land managed for nature conservation, supporting many breeding and over-wintering birds, natterjack toads, special plants and insects. The new site is now two thirds larger, making it the ninth largest National Nature Reserve of the 220 in England.

National Nature Reserve status is given to the very best nature conservation sites in England and is recognition that the land is nationally important and will be managed in perpetuity for its wildlife and geology. Many National Nature Reserves are managed – like the LCCNNR - by multiple parties who are committed to working together towards a shared future vision for the nature reserve.

At LCCNNR Natural England will work alongside Lincolnshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Ministry of Defence, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Environment Agency to share skills, knowledge and resources for long term commitment to the site. A range of organisations has joined together to launch the LCCNNR, including the Humber Nature Partnership with a common goal and commitment to nature, science and people by providing access to green space and wildlife.

The percentage of Lincolnshire population with easy access to nature is one of the lowest in the country.  The new reserve is close to large urban populations, with Grimsby and Cleethorpes to the north, Mablethorpe and Sutton-on-Sea to the south, and Louth and Lincoln to the west. Some of the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in England are within walking distance of the reserve.

The LCCNNR will help to unlock more opportunity for local people to access and experience the coastline for their own health and wellbeing, supporting communities to get active, providing education opportunities or learning new skills through volunteering, or to simply recharge in nature.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:

“Today’s declaration of the new Lincolnshire Coronation Coast National Nature Reserve is a landmark moment for nature recovery in England, not just in Lincolnshire but also nationally.

“Not only is it a visible demonstration of ambitious targets being translated into practical action, but also a fine example of how broad partnerships can be harnessed for nature recovery at scale.

“This area of coastline is of international importance due to habitats that support hundreds of thousands of birds, rare natterjack toads and a host of special insects and plants.

“This newly expanded National Nature Reserve will enhance the nature and biodiversity of the Greater Lincolnshire coast making it a bigger, better and more joined up area for wildlife. This reserve also presents opportunities for local people to connect with amazing wildlife while also providing an attractive destination for tourists to visit, bringing benefits to the economy too.”

The Lincolnshire Coast has a range of important habitat for species including birds and mammals. There will be five priority habitats within the National Nature Reserve boundary: intertidal mudflats, coastal saltmarsh, coastal sand dunes, coastal and floodplain grazing marsh, and saline lagoons.

Wildlife benefitting from the reserve include notable winter assemblage of wading birds and wildfowl and a range of breeding species in spring and summer. Special species include redshank, whitethroat, golden plover, natterjack toads, grey seals, and a diverse range of plants and insects such as the marsh moth – one of only two places in the country where they are found.  The saltmarsh and lowland wet grasslands are very important in delivering natural solutions to manage climate change.

It is also a popular destination for visitors and the new National Nature Reserve partnership will be promoting responsible access and enjoyment of the sites. The reserve is close to the resort of Cleethorpes and the King Charles III England Coast Path runs through the site. The site will complement the area’s already fascinating cultural and historical appeal with its evidence of shipwrecks, medieval landscapes, smuggling and salt making, and its inns and alehouses.

The site is the first in the new King’s Series of National Nature Reserves and one of the best places for nature to thrive in England. The series will see the creation of five major National Nature Reserve declarations every year for the next five years - 25 in total.

Cllr Colin Davie, executive member for environment at Lincolnshire County Council, said:

“Lincolnshire is delighted to be home to the first of the new King’s Series of National Nature Reserves. By joining up and extending the existing nature reserves to form the vast Lincolnshire Coronation Coast, we’re adding to the rich tapestry of conservation projects that line the east coast between the Humber and The Wash. By working together we’re not only protecting and enhancing our unique habitats and natural environment, but we’re allowing more visitors to discover the unspoilt beauty of this stretch of coastline.” Paul Learoyd, chief executive, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said:

“This exciting new declaration demonstrates what can be achieved by working in partnership across an entire landscape. From the first steps that the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust made to protect this section of the Lincolnshire coast in the 1950s, working with others has been key. Volunteers are also part of this partnership giving hundreds of hours annually to record wildlife, help manage habitats and engage with the public especially at the Donna Nook grey seal colony.”

Read more about the power of National Nature Reserves in this blog by Tony Juniper.

Published: 18th September 2023