Rothschild's list

Rothschild's List

Roudsea Wood, Rothschild Reserve number 227

The Rothschild Reserves

Charles Rothschild had founded the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves (SPNR - now The Wildlife Trusts) in May 1912, with the objective of protecting special places for wildlife. Over the next three years, Charles Rothschild coordinated a national survey of wildlife sites 'worthy of preservation' in Britain and Ireland. What was new about this approach to preserving ‘wild life’ was that it focused on preserving the habitat rather than just the individual species within it. At a time when the majority of conservationists were focusing on individual species, Rothschild recognised that places needed protection too. By 1915, the SNPR had compiled a list of 284 sites 'worthy of preservation' - the Rothschild Reserves.

Questionnaires were sent to members and to local natural history groups. The wider public, who read about the Society in the newspapers, also wrote in. The SPNR sent its members to survey sites to establish their wildlife value, collecting information about the habitat and species found. The landowner was always established; at the time, they intended to purchase the land, turn it into nature reserves and hand it over to the National Trust to manage under special conditions. It was believed that it was better to fence off nature and leave it to its own devices, rather than practically manage it - a view that has evolved over time.

The list provides a unique portrait of the natural landscape almost a century ago, and provides a fascinating, and in some cases worrying, point of comparison for today

The elite conservation crusaders shook their fists at progress in their quest for ‘primeval country’ and their desire to shut it off, but soon problems arose. The outbreak of war meant priorities lay firmly elsewhere, and enquiring minds, hungry for information about the British landscape, were not so welcome in an age of foreign spies. Ownership was often complicated and belonged to more than one person, the National Trust became increasingly cooler to the idea, and the Government's Board of Agriculture, while sympathetic, refused to become actively involved.

It was not until after Rothschild's death in 1923 that the creation of the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act made nature conservation part of the law in 1949. Finally Rothschild's original vision of protecting Britain's most important places for wildlife was coming to pass. This set up the first Government's conservation agency (the Nature Conservancy Council), and the first National Parks and protected wildlife sites (Sites of Special Scientific Interest - SSSIs). 

100 years on from Rothschild's list

Charles Rothschild’s first list was, and still is, of immense interest and importance. It was the first survey of its kind and fed into future studies. The list provides a unique portrait of the natural landscape almost a century ago, and provides a fascinating, and in some cases worrying, point of comparison for today.

The original list included now classic nature reserves... others have been devastated by development

 

While many of the sites on the original list have been partially or completely lost, those that survive are now all SSSIs and/or designated nature reserves, many of them protected by law. The original list included now classic nature reserves such as Wicken and Woodwalton Fens, well-known wildlife hotspots including Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth and Blakeney Point in North Norfolk.

Others have been devastated by development, or simply vanished in the mists of time. Harlestone Heath in Northamptonshire, once one of the county’s most important botanical areas, has been reduced to a tiny fragment of grassland. Redlodge Warren in the Suffolk Brecks has been cut in two by the A11 trunk road, while Freshney Bog, on the edge of Grimsby, was turned into a rubbish dump during the Second World War.

100 years on from the completion of the list in 1915, The Wildlife Trusts set out to collect as much information as we could using desktop research to measure the current state of the 284 Rothschild Reserves. Find out about what happened to the places on Rothschild’s List over the past century in our review.

As part of our centenary celebrations, author Simon Barnes took a step back in time, visiting a number of the places from the original list. His writings are published in an ebook, accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Nik Pollard.

The Archive

The list documentation was stored in Rothschild Bank blue envelopes - one envelope for each of the 284 sites, and remained in the Society's offices for the next 100 years. 

Along with a site questionnaire containing information on why the site was proposed as a potential nature reserve, the envelopes usually contain a map showing the area in question and, sometimes, correspondence with landowners, land agents and the individual proposing the site. As part of our centenary celebrations in 2012, we digitised the survey documents and made them available online, increasing their lifespan and making them publicly accessible for the first time.

Rothschild Reserves original documentation

The List by Region

Find information and archive files about each of the 284 Rothschild Reserves, sorted here by region. 

Notes:

  • In many cases we have used the historic spellings used by the SPNR.
  • Where available, links are provided to scans of the original survey documents and maps (all originals stored in The Wildlife Trusts' archive).
  • Many surviving sites are now owned and managed by a range of organisations including The Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, RSPB, statutory conservation agencies such as Natural England or Scottish Natural Heritage, local 'Friends of' groups and Commons Societies - links to current owners and site managers are provided where applicable.
  • If you would like to browse the full collection of archive document scans, you can do so here.

North

Abbot's Moss, Cheshire

Abbot’s Moss is a lowland acid bog within the Delamere Forest. It was described by Charles Rothschild as “a place we should make every effort to secure”. The SPNR was interested in the insects and plants of the Moss and great sundew and the large heath butterfly, in particular, are highlighted on the site’s survey documents from 1913. It is now managed by Cheshire Wildlife Trust.

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Ainsdale, Lancashire

This site on the Lancashire coast was selected by the SPNR for its sand dune habitats. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

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Askern Bog, Yorkshire

A site noted as primeval country and listed alongside Askham Bog. Proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce creatures, a locality for scarce plants and of geological significance.

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Askham Bog, Yorkshire

A small but botanically rich fen and bog site lying south west of the city of York. The site was identified as being worthy of preservation for its 'peculiar fauna'. Askham Bog became the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's first nature reserve when it was gifted to the Trust on its formation in 1946 by the York chocolate makers, Sir Francis Terry and Arnold Rowntree. Now managed by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

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Birkdale, Lancashire

The sandhills of Birkdale were identified by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. Although some of the land has been developed in the intervening years, most of the remainder is now within Birkdale Hills Local Nature Reserve, designated in 1980. The site is managed by Sefton Council's Coast and Countryside Service.

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Crag Lough, Northumberland

A lake on the north side of Hadrian's Wall and listed by the SPNR for its insect and plant life. Now within the Northumberland National Park.

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Deer Dike Moss, Cumbria

Lowland raised mire in south Cumbria, notable for its plants, birds and its lepidoptera. Now part of the wider Roudsea Wood and Mosses SSSI. There are no archive documents available for this site.

No documents available

Ellerside Moss, Cumbria

A lowland raised mire in south Cumbria, notable for plants, birds and, especially Lepidoptera. Now forms part of the wider Roudsea Wood and Mosses SSSI. There are no archive documents available for this site.

No documents available

Farne Islands, Northumberland

The Farne Islands, a group of islands off the Northumberland coast, were one of only three sites in England listed by the Society as 'nesting places for seabirds'. Now a National Nature Reserve owned and managed by the National Trust.

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Flamborough Head, Yorkshire

The chalk cliffs at Flamborough Head were listed by the SPNR for their importance for birds. The site - one of the largest seabird colonies in England - is now managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

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Fleetwood, Lancashire

An area selected by the SPNR particularly for its dunes and sandhills. Much of the site has now been destroyed in the intervening years with some surviving dune areas incorporated into a local golf course.

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Forge Valley, Yorkshire

A large ancient woodland in the valley of the River Derwent in Yorkshire. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

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Freshfield, Lancashire

The sandy habitats at Freshfield on the Lancashire coast were proposed by the SPNR as a potential nature reserve. Since then the area has suffered from a large loss of sand dune habitat from pine invasion, urban development and erosion. However there are nature reserves protecting some remaining areas of habitat including those managed by the National Trust and the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and north Merseyside. The area is also notable for its isolated population of red squirrels.

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Grass Wood, Yorkshire

A large ancient wood on a limestone scar in Upper Wharfedale, in north-west Yorkshire. Although the site has suffered from conifer replanting and elm disease it is notable for its rich flora including lily-of-the-valley, bloody crane’s-bill and burnet rose. It was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1955 and in 1972 the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust began to acquire parts of the site to safeguard its future. By 1983 the Trust had secured the remaining areas of the wood and it now manages it as a nature reserve.

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Hatfield Chase, Yorkshire

A peatland site in south Yorkshire noted as primeval country and listed alongside its near neighbour Thorne Moor. Proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce creatures, a locality for scarce plants and of geological significance. Around two thirds of the site has been destroyed by peat extraction for horticultural use. The remaining areas of habitat are now protected within the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve which also covers nearby Thorne Moor.

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Holy Island, Northumberland

An area of sand-dunes, inter-tidal sands and mud at Holy Island was listed by the SPNR. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

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Hornsea Mere, Yorkshire

A large freshwater lake near the east coast of Yorkshire. Now designated a Special Protection Area.

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Hutton Roof, Cumbria

An area in Westmorland (now Cumbria) considered by the SPNR to be a ‘typical limestone formation’ and of geological and botanical significance. It was the only limestone pavement site on Rothschild’s list and the SPNR noted it as a location for specialist plants such as angular Solomon’s-seal and rigid buckler fern. Like other limestone pavement sites it has been damaged by some removal of stone but it is now protected as a nature reserve managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and still contains some of the finest areas of limestone pavement in Britain.

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Hobcarton Crags (Trobaston Fell), Cumbria

A site in the high fells of the Lake District and one of the few mountain crags on the Society's English list of sites. It was selected by the SPNR for a rare plant - the alpine catchfly. Now part of the Buttermere Fells SSSI.

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Kilnsey Crag, Yorkshire

Noted as 'one of the finest limestone escarpments in the country' and 'a puzzle to geologists', the dramatic profile of Kilnsey Crag dominates this part of Upper Wharfedale in the Yorkshire Dales. Kilnsey Crag is now part of the wider Malham-Arncliffe SSSI within the Yorkshire Dales National Park

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Lawkland and Austwick Moss, Yorkshire

A site in the Forest of Bowland described as 'peat moors' on the SPNR's survey form and noted as a locality for scarce plants including bird's-eye primrose. Now designated a SSSI.

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Maltby Wood & Common, Yorkshire

A site in Yorkshire proposed to the SPNR as a locality for rare plants and also noted for its bird life. Part of the original site is now managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust as Maltby Low Common nature reserve.

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Meathop Moss, Cumbria

Meathop Moss is 70 ha of raised bog close to Morecambe Bay. Rothschild considered it as 'one of the most interesting places in England'. It was listed by the SPNR for its entomological, botanical and ecological significance. It was particularly noted for its bog plants, large heath butterfly and large colony of lesser black-backed gulls. Rothschild negotiated a lease arrangement between the owner and the SPNR from 1920. It is now a nature reserve managed by Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

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Middleton Rigg, Yorkshire

A 'small patch of unenclosed boggy fell-side' in north Yorkshire, proposed to the Society as a potential nature reserve for its plantlife including bird's-eye primrose.

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Newham Bog and Spindlestone Pond, Northumberland

Newham Bog was described by Charles Rothschild as 'a place certainly worth preserving'. It is now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England. Sadly, Spindlestone Pond, a nearby site also listed by Rothschild as 'worthy of preservation', has been destroyed in the intervening years.

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Roche Abbey, Yorkshire

A South Yorkshire site proposed to the Society for its birds, insects and plants, as well as its geological interest. Since then, the area has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is mostly ancient woodland consisting of oak, ash and lime, but there are calcareous and marshy grasslands here, too. The woods are filled with interesting flowers and plants like lily-of-the-valley, yellow star of Bethlehem, green helleborine, toothwort and hard shield fern. Now managed by Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

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Ross Links, Northumberland

This area of coastal sand dunes was listed by the Society for its birds, including eider duck and redshank, and plant life. Adjacent to Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR), which runs along the coast, it is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC; European designation). The dunes support rare plants such as petalwort, coralroot, dune helleborine and seaside centuary. Now managed by Natural England.

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Rostherne Mere, Cheshire

A lake in Cheshire listed by the Society as a desirable nature reserve. Today, Rostherne Mere is protected as a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and internationally recognised as an important wetland (Ramsar site). Part of the ‘Meres and Mosses’ in North West England, it is the deepest and largest mere in Cheshire. It supports overwintering wildfowl like teal and pintail, and is important for white-letter and purple hairstreak butterflies in summer. Now managed by Natural England.

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Roudsea Wood, Cumbria

An ancient wood close to Morecambe Bay noted as a place of scarce 'insects, plants and birds'. Along with Striber’s Moss and Deer Dike Moss, this has become incorporated into the Roudsea Wood and Mosses National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The site consists of saltmarsh, acid and limestone woodlands, and lowland raised bog. It supports all kinds of wildlife including over 280 species of fungi, and rare plants like Lancashire whitebeam and true fox sedge. Dormouse, red squirrel and otter frequent the site; while birds such as nightjar and skylark breed here. Now managed by Natural England.

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Simmons Wood Moss, Lancashire

Unfortunately, most of the original site has been destroyed by commercial peat extraction. However, the survey documentation also includes details for another site: Freshfield Lane on the Lancashire coast. Now part of Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve (NNR), it is noted for its mudflats, sand dunes and grassland, and is home to sand lizard, natterjack toad and great crested newt. Managed by Natural England and also part of the Sefton Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Spurn Point, Yorkshire

A 3-mile long spit of sand and shingle extending into the Humber Estuary identified by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. In 1959 it was acquired by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust from the Ministry of Defence, who had used it as a coastal fort, and Spurn Point is now managed by the Trust as a nature reserve. It is an important location for studying bird migration and has long been a focus of interest for ornithologists and naturalists. It is home to one of the UK’s bird observatories, which opened in 1946.

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Striber's Moss, Lancashire

In 1916, this area was noted as 'bogs and woods' alongside Deer Dike Moss and three other sites. Although the mosses had already been cut over for peat, they were well-regarded for plants, birds and moths. Now the Roudsea Wood and Mosses Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the site consists of coastal saltmarsh, acid and limestone woodlands, and lowland raised bog. It supports all kinds of wildlife including over 280 species of fungi, and rare plants like Lancashire whitebeam and true fox sedge. Dormouse, red squirrel and otter frequent the site; while birds such as nightjar and skylark breed here. Now managed by Natural England.

No documents available

Thorne Moor, Yorkshire

A site noted as ‘primeval country’ and listed alongside Askham Bog, Thorne Moor was proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce creatures and a site of geological significance. It now forms part of the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve (NNR) and is managed by Natural England. The reserve represents the largest area of lowland raised bog in the UK and is an important breeding site for the nightjar. This nocturnal bird was responsible for the site being declared a Special Protection Area (SPA) – a European designation to safeguard birds.

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Upper Teesdale, Cumbria & Yorkshire

Described as having a 'sub-alpine flora', this site was noted by the Society as a locality for several scarce plants. It is now the Moor House -Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve (NNR) and is situated in the heart of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Plants that originally colonised the high Pennines after the last Ice Age have survived here, framed by impressive rock formations such as sugar limestone outcrops and the Great Whin Sill. The reserve includes habitats such as hay meadows, juniper wood, limestone grassland, blanket bogs and heathland fells. Now managed by Natural England.

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Wallasey, Cheshire

An area of sand dunes which was partly spoiled by a golf course in 1913. Today, the proposed site has effectively been destroyed; however, the area around the foreshore is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and falls into the North Wirral Coastal Country Park and Dee Estuary Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The mudflats and saltmarsh here are important feeding and roosting sites for overwintering waders and wildfowl. Managed by Wirral Borough Council.

No documents available

Widdybank, Durham

Described by the Society as 'a most wonderful botanical station', the fell at Widdybank is made up of grassland, flushes, bogs and limestone rock. Although the building of Cow Green reservoir in the 1960s had an impact on the site’s geology, wildlife survived and has flourished since. The site is famous for the rare spring gentian, and black grouse and ring ouzel breed here. Now part of the Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve (NNR) and Special Area for Conservation (SAC; a European designation), it is managed by Natural England.

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Wybunbury Fen, Cheshire

Forming part of a series of peat bogs known as ‘Mosses’, Wybunbury Fen was noted for preservation by the Society as a 'type of wild country with no exact counterpoint on the continent of Europe'. This rare Ice Age bog is now a raft of peat floating over an underground lake, surrounded by swamp, woodland and meadows. Sphagnum moss, cotton sedge and sundew grow here, and important insect populations can be found. Now a National Nature Reserve (NNR), it is managed by Natural England.

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South East & London

Amberley Wildbrooks, Sussex

An area of grazing marsh and ditches or dykes lying in the floodplain of the River Arun. This site was originally listed as 'bog' in the SPNR's questionnaire. Although there has since been some degradation of habitat over the past century, particularly through drainage, the dykes are renowned for their rich stonewort flora as well as pondweeds. Over half of all the British species of aquatic plants can be found here. The area is now jointly owned by the Sussex Wildlife Trust and RSPB.

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Apes Down, Isle of Wight

A site on the Isle of Wight classified by the SPNR as an example of downland habitat, notable for the presence of wood calamint. To this day this rare plant flourishes in the wooded valley of Rowridge SSSI just below Apesdown, where it is thought the original SPNR designation was meant to protect.

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Ashdown Forest, Sussex

An extensive area in Sussex originally listed by the SPNR as 'heaths and moors' and later as 'the finest tract of open moorland in SE England'. Now managed by the Conservators of Ashdown Forest, the area is also famous for being the location for AA Milne's 'Winnie the Pooh' stories for children.

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Aston Upthorpe Downs, Berkshire

An area of chalk grassland selected by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. At the date of the SPNR listing the site was in Berkshire, but a boundary change in 1974 means that it is now in Oxfordshire. The steep grassy slopes are home to butterflies and wildflowers such as burnt-tip orchid and pasqueflower. The site was designated a SSSI in 1953 and is now within the North Wessex Downs AONB.

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Bacombe Hill, Buckinghamshire

A chalk hill in a windswept area of the Chilterns, noted for its orchids and chalkland butterflies such as the Chalkhill Blue, Dark Green Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy. Now a Local Nature Reserve, SSSI and part of the Chilterns AONB. The site is owned by Buckinghamshire County Council.

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Blean Wood, Kent

Blean Wood, close to Canterbury, was originally listed by the SPNR as an example of woodland 'worthy of preservation'. A century on, the Blean is one of the largest remaining areas of ancient woodland in England, covering over 11 square miles. It is now under the management of a number of conservation organisations including Kent Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust and the RSPB.

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Box Hill, Surrey

Box Hill in Surrey was well-known as a popular beauty spot and was listed by the SPNR for its wild box woods. It is now managed by the National Trust.

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Bradenham, Buckinghamshire

In 1913 the SPNR identified this area near Bradenham, Buckinghamshire as being 'worthy of preservation'.

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Brickhill Heath, Buckinghamshire

An area of heathland close to Woburn in Buckinghamshire, selected by the SPNR as an example of heathland habitat.

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Brimpton Common, Berkshire

An area of lowland heath in Berkshire, selected by the SPNR in its list of places 'worthy of preservation'.

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Cad's Dene, Buckinghamshire

This area, which includes the Prime Minister's Chequers Estate, was listed for 'very lovely scenery' and for scarce 'insects and plants' including some of the finest examples of natural box groves in Britain. The area identified by the SPNR is not currently under any formal protected conservation status although the land north of the SPNR's site forms Grangelands and Pulpit Hill SSSI.

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Calshot Bank and Saltings, Hampshire

This proposed nature reserve on the banks of the Solent included shingle shore, saltings and mudflats. Since 1913 the area has seen developments including a power station and refinery at Fawley. However, areas of wildlife habitat still remain, particularly within the Hythe - Calshot Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the Calshot Marshes Local Nature Reserve, which is managed by Hampshire County Council.

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Camber Castle, Sussex

The SPNR listed this extensive area of shingle beach in Sussex as 'worthy of preservation'. Although some habitat has been lost, the extensive Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, managed by a partnership of organisations led by the Sussex Wildlife Trust, now protects more than 460ha of wild coastal habitat here. It is one of the most important conservation sites on the Sussex coast.

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Chichester Harbour, Sussex

The Society proposed the whole of Chichester Harbour below high water mark as a reserve. The Chichester Harbour Conservancy is now the organisation responsible for managing the harbour, created by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971. Its duty is the conservancy, maintenance and improvement of the Harbour and the Amenity Area for recreation and leisure, nature conservation and the natural beauty. The Conservancy also acts as the Joint Advisory Committee for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

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Collyerhill Wood, Kent

An ancient woodland in Kent, 'plants' were listed as its main reason for potential preservation as a nature reserve.

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Coombe Hill, Buckinghamshire

Coombe Hill is the highest point in the Chilterns. Now managed by the National Trust.

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Cot Hill, Berkshire

This small area of fen was selected by the SPNR for its rare 'insects and plants'. Part of a larger area that was known as the Ruskin Reserve. Now managed by Natural England.

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Courtclose Copse, Berkshire

This tiny site was proposed as a reserve by the SPNR for Martagon lily.

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Crundale Downs, Kent

This area of downland in Kent was proposed as a nature reserve for its plantlife, especially its wild orchids. Now within the Wye and Crundale Downs Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

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Devil's Kneading Trough, Kent

A dramatic dry chalk grassland valley in the North Downs. Now managed as part of Wye National Nature Reserve and managed by Natural England.

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Dorney Wood, Buckinghamshire

An ancient woodland in Buckinghamshire selected by the SPNR as an example of woodland habitat. Dorney Wood now forms part of the much larger Burnham Beeches SSSI, reknown for its veteran beech trees.

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Dungeness, Kent

The SPNR was keen to preserve the coastal habitats at Dungeness, highlighting its natural history interest for its old holly trees, shingle beach and birds such as the kentish plover. Now jointly managed by Natural England and the RSPB.

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Durdham Down, Bristol

An area of public open space close to the centre of Bristol. The SPNR was particularly interested in its areas of cliff habitat, as the site is next to the Avon Gorge and there are steep cliffs that fall down to the River Avon below. Now used as a recreation space.

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Greenham Common, Berkshire

Greenham Common was described by the SPNR as ‘typical heath and sedge vegetation, scenically beautiful and rich in brambles.’ Its subsequent use as a US air base during World War II transformed the heathland, and the Nature Reserve Investigation Committee of 1942 regarded it as ‘ruined’. Thirty years later local naturalists succeeded in ensuring the woods outside the airfield perimeter fence were saved as nature reserves. In 2000 the air base was finally closed and the land was returned to the public. Greenham Common is now managed by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust as part of the West Berkshire Living Landscape.

In the mid-1990s ecologist Peter Marren commented in his book Time and Fragile Nature: Rothschild’s Reserves and what became of them that it would have been heather-covered with areas of acid grassland, bracken, wet hollows and possibly small woods of birch and alder. Nightjar and stone curlew nested on the uninhabited heath which was crossed by two unsurfaced roads. ’Had it survived in that form, we would speak of Greenham Common in the same breath as the New Forest and the Purbeck Heaths’ wrote Marren.

Subsequent use as an airfield during and after the Second World War transformed the heathland, and the Nature Reserve Investigation Committee of 1942 regarded it as ‘ruined’. Thirty years later local naturalists succeeded in ensuring the woods outside the airfield perimeter fence were saved as nature reserves and some, like Bowdown Woods (managed by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust), are scheduled as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

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Hartslock Wood, Oxfordshire

100 years ago Hartslock Wood and the land bordering the Thames as far as Gatehampton was described by botanist George Claridge Druce as: ‘A piece of typical chalk wood and turf’. It was recommended for protection because of ‘plants and specially to preserve one of the most beautiful stretches of the Thames and its very charming woodland’.

A contemporary map shows a coloured circle marked as Best Area. Druce was probably careful about describing the ‘plants’ and the ‘Best Area’ because of the colony of rare monkey orchids that flourished here in 1913. Remarkably the ‘Best Area’ is exactly the same steep scarp slope where today hundreds of rare monkey orchids now flower every year.

Not all of the land within the original reserve boundary is maintained today for wildlife. The old mixed yew and beech woodland is in private ownership, with the Thames Path national trail running through it. Combe Fields to the north of the BBOWT nature reserve are Local Wildlife Sites with Open Access. Grassland between Gatehampton Lane and the Thames was ploughed after the Second World War, when local people rescued the orchids, replanting them on land which is now Hartslock nature reserve.

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Heathpool, Berkshire

One of the Society's larger proposed reserves, a three square-mile block of heath and bog in Berkshire. The intervening years have seen a loss of habitat from urbanisation and afforestation. The National Trust have saved parts of the area such as Finchampstead Ridges and Simons Wood. Longmoor Bog, an area of remaining wetland habitat is designated a SSSI and is part of California Country Park managed by Wokingham Borough Council.

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Hempstead Wood, Sussex

A small ancient wood near Hailsham in Sussex, listed by the SPNR for 'plants and insects'. Only a fragment of ancient woodland now survives, due to the wood being partly destroyed to make way for the route of a by-pass and other parts being sold for housing development.

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Hook Common, Hampshire

A large heathland common in north-east Hampshire identified by the SPNR as an excellent site for invertebrates and wildflowers. Part of the Common, now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Now fragmented by developments such as the M3, the northern part of the Common was bought in 1987 with a gift from Mr and Mrs Clegg who founded Ladybird Books. More recently, the Trust is restoring the wet, flowery grasslands in the southern part of the Common to revitalize its populations of marsh gentians, petty whin and pale heath violets. Now managed by the Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust.

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Horsell Common, Surrey

An area in Surrey noted for its 'Heathland, Sphagnum bogs and insects' and which was surveyed by Charles Rothschild himself. Rothschild was particularly interested in the site’s sundews (greater sundew Drosera anglica) and the European Sundew Moth whose larvae feed on the sundew. Although it still has an interesting flora and fauna (including nightjar and snipe) there has been some loss of the original heathland habitats, in line with losses of this type of habitat across lowland England. The Common is now designated a SSSI and SPA and is managed by the Horsell Common Preservation Society.

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Inkpen, Berkshire

The delights of this beautiful wildflower meadow in Berkshire were noted by botanist George Claridge Druce when he visited the site. He described The Crocus Field as ‘old pasture’ well known for remarkable displays of Crocus vernus. It became Reserve 274 on the list of Rothschild Reserves. It is now managed by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

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Kingley Bottom, Sussex

A well known beauty spot in Sussex that was awarded the starred rating by the SPNR for its great yew forest. Now known as Kingley Vale the site is a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

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Langstone Harbour, Sussex

A great natural harbour in Hampshire was given a starred rating by the SPNR as a fine example of 'saltings'. The 1,750 ha of mudflats, saltings, shingle banks and grazing marshes provided a range of feeding grounds and inter-tidal habitats. Although there has been loss of shoreline to development and coastal protection works, it is now considered a site of European importance for birds and other wildlife. The area in and around the harbour is now managed by the RSPB and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. One part, Farlington Marshes, was the Trust’s first reserves in the early 1960s.

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Leigh Woods, nr Bristol

A well known wood on the south-west side of the Avon Gorge near Bristol, listed by the SPNR for its plantlife and invertebrates. Now managed by the National Trust and the Forestry Commission, the site is also designated a National Nature Reserve.

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Lewes Downs, Sussex

An area of downland close to Lewes in Sussex, listed as containing scarce 'plants and insects'. The South Downs near Lewes are a superb area of chalk downland rich in wildlife and ancient human history. Because of its international importance, much of this area is protected by designations such as: Site of Special Scientific Interest; Special Area of Conservation and National Nature Reserve. Natural England now manage Mount Caburn NNR and Sussex Wildlife Trust manage two two chalk downland reserves nearby - Southerham and Malling Down (Malling Down is one of the areas circled by Rothschild in red pen on the SPNR's maps).

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Littlestone, Kent

A narrow strip of sand-dunes on the Kent coast, proposed by the SPNR as a potential nature reserve.

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Maidstone, Kent

An area of sloping downland close to Maidstone in Kent, recommended to the SPNR as a potential nature reserve by Ernest Green.

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Medway (The), Kent

A six km square bay of marsh and mudflats in the river Medway estuary, chosen by the SPNR as an example of 'saltings' as well as on entomological grounds. Medway Estuary and Marshes SPA is managed by Natural England.

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Naphill Common, Buckinghamshire

An area of common land in Buckinghamshire noted by Rothschild for its yew trees. The Common is now managed by the Friends of Naphill Common. The Common is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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New Forest, Hampshire

The SPNR was interested in securing protection for the wildlife of the New Forest in Hampshire. The area is now a National Park.

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Odiham Marsh, Hampshire

The Society listed this site close to Basingstoke as 'bog', and included Hook Common (see separate entry), Bartley Heath and Greywell within the map. Today, Bartley Heath forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with the adjoining Hook Common, and is partly managed by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Greywell is conserved as Greywell Moors nature reserve and is also managed by the Trust. At this site, the Trust is restoring fenland habitats.

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Pegwell Bay, Kent

An area of mudflats, sand-dunes and estuarine marshes, listed by the SPNR for its 'saltings'. It is now a National Nature Reserve managed by Kent Wildlife Trust and others in a partnership. It is a complex mosaic of habitats including saltmarsh, ancient dune pasture, chalk cliffs and coastal scrubland. The Trust describes it as ‘the best remaining complex of this type in the southeast, showing a complete series of seashore habitats’. It is an internationally important site for wading birds and wildfowl. The salt marsh is home to sea lavender and the rare golden samphire whilst the dune pastures host a range of orchids.

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Pinewood, nr Littlebourne, Kent

A patch of ancient woodland east of Canterbury noted for its insects. The woodland still stands today, but has no conservation designations and is privately managed. It is likely that it was used as chestnut coppice from the 16th century, but now it provides fodder for the nearby zoo! Dormice are known to inhabit this wood.

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Pusey Camp or Cherbury Camp, Berkshire

An ancient hill-fort in Wiltshire listed for its insects and plants, as well as 'archaeological interest'. Now in Oxfordshire as county boundaries have changed, it has no conservation designations. However, this ancient hill fort is protected under law as a nationally important ‘scheduled monument’.

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Ruskin Reserve, Oxfordshire

Now known as Parsonage Moor, this area is part of what Oxford botanists at the time knew as the Ruskin Reserve. This limestone fen with its special flora and fauna included Hurst Copse owned by Oxford botanist and SPNR Council member George Claridge Druce and Prof E. B. Poulton. Druce wrote of the need to secure the wider area either side of Hurst Copse, which included Parsonage Moor, describing it as a place of ‘typical primeval country’, noted for insects and plants.

Today, the whole area has European protection as Cothill Fen Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Fed by calcium-rich water from underground springs, the fen remains wet all year round. Alongside the fen are areas of reedbed, wet woodland and open pools, which support a huge variety of wildlife. Within the SAC, Natural England manages Cothill National Nature Reserve (NNR), while the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust manages Gozzard’s Ford Fen (no public access), Parsonage Moor, Lashford Lane and Dry Sandford Pit nature reserves. The Trust is also running the Cothill Fen Project to conserve and enhance these special areas.

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Sandwich, Kent

Five miles of wildlife-rich sand dunes on the Kent coast, which the Society identified as 'worthy of preservation'. Now part of Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve (NNR), the site is managed by Kent Wildlife Trust. One of the Trust's largest nature reserves, it is made up of a mosaic of habitats, including mudflats, saltmarsh, shingle beach, sand dunes and coastal scrubland, and is of international importance for its populations of wading birds and wildfowl.

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Selsey Bill, Sussex

In their book 'Rothschild's Reserves: Time and Fragile Nature' Miriam Rothschild and Peter Marren suggest that the, with no map included in the SPNR archive, the Society actually meant Pagham Harbour, which contains rare and important habitats such as vegetated shingle beach and intertidal feeding grounds rather than the narrow shingle beach at Selsey Bill itself. Pagham Harbour is now managed by the RSPB.

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Sheepleas (The), Surrey

Regarded in 1913 as 'the finest piece of entomological and botanical ground within thirty miles of London'. It was noted for its fritillaries and orchids, including the rare narrow-lipped helleborine. Sheepleas - lying on the chalk slopes of the North Downs - was once part of the West Horsley Place Estate. During the 1930's, parts of the Estate were auctioned and Surrey County Council bought the current site to protect as a Public Open Space. It is now managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

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Snodland Down, Kent

An area of downland in Kent proposed as 'worthy of preservation' for its many scarce plants and insects. Now part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the downland is protected as Trosley Country Park – a mix of wildlife-rich woodland and chalk grassland slopes. Also classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), it supports an array of butterflies including the rare chalkhill blue. Now managed by Kent County Council.

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St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight

A coastal site on the Isle of Wight, noted by the Society for its important insects. Now managed by the National Trust, it is part of a large Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area for Conservation (SAC; a European designation). The soft, chalk undercliffs support a variety of plants and flowers, such as creeping bent, sea campion, wild cabbage and thrift, and fulmars, peregrines and ravens nest here. The windswept St Catherine's Down rises behind these rocky, wave-battered cliffs.

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St. Catherine's Hill, Hampshire

A prominent chalk hill to the south-east of Winchester. The hilltop consists of the remains of an Iron Age hill-fort and its surrounding slopes were noted by the SPNR for their butterflies and chalk grassland flora, including orchids. Since 1976, it has been a nature reserve managed by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who have been restoring the ancient grasslands.

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Staffhurst Wood, Surrey

Listed as an example of a natural Wealden oak forest which contained mature trees. Staffhurst Wood is now managed by the Surrey Wildlife Trust on behalf of Surrey County Council.

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Sunny Hill, Kent

A small downland site noted for insects, which has since suffered from scrub invasion and tree-planting. The site survives today as Alkham, Lydden and Swingfield Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It consists of a number of woodlands and patches of chalk grassland, where lady, fly and burnt orchids can be seen. Natural England works with local landowners and the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership to ensure its protection.

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Tandridge Hill, Surrey

The proposed reserve included open chalk grassland and a wood, and was noted for its plant life. Although the site has suffered from a loss of downland, scrub invasion and some quarrying, it remains a good area for wildflowers and insects, now falling within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Much of the site is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and managed jointly by Surrey County Council and Natural England.

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Warren (The), Kent

Regarded by the Society as a ‘primeval’ habitat, rich in scarce plants and insects. Today, East Cliff and Warren Country Park falls within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Despite suffering from habitat loss and scrub invasion, it is still rich in wildlife, with chalk grassland wildflowers growing alongside salt-loving rock sea lavender and rock samphire. It is the only remaining site in Kent for the grayling butterfly. Owned by Kent County Council and managed by the White Cliffs Countryside Project, it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire

Listed as a small area with a rare plant. The original site proposed to the SPNR has been destroyed due to a building development on the site, but the rare plant survives although it has been moved. However, the adjacent Weston Turville Reservoir is managed by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve, and attracts overwintering wildfowl.

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Whitecliff Bay, Isle of Wight

A site consisting of cliff and foreshore, Whitecliff Bay is one of the few sites in the Society’s list picked for its outstanding geological features – exposed clay and chalk beds from the Eocene (56-34 million years ago) and Cretaceous periods (145-65 million years ago), respectively. These beds are renowned for their fossil finds. Although the site has been impacted upon by holiday developments and coastal defences, it is still a thriving Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), noted for its geology and its wildlife. Now managed by Natural England.

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Whitstable, Kent

Known locally as Long Rock, Swalecliffe, an area of low cliffs above bays of sand and mudflats, which was listed by the Society because of at least two rare plants: Hog’s fennel and willowleaf lettuce. Today, the area classes the Fishers Estuarine Moth as an important species and the site forms part of the Thanet Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which runs almost uninterrupted from Swaledale to Ramsgate and includes grassland, saltmarsh, coastal lagoons and woodland. It is internationally important for its populations of wildfowl and waders, and has been designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Ramsar site (for wetlands) as a result. Now managed by a number of partners.

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Woolpack and other Fleets, Kent

A site proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce birds. This area of grazing marsh now falls under the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is managed for wildlife by the landowners under the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership. It is important for its lowland ditches and fens, and for populations of overwintering waterfowl, great crested newts and water voles. Natural England is calling for it to be included in an extension to the current Dungeness to Pett Level Special Protection Area (SPA) – a European designation that identifies important areas for birds.

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Wychwood Forest, Oxfordshire

This ancient broadleaved woodland may be much smaller than it was in medieval times, when it was used as a Royal Hunting Ground, but it is still the largest continuous wood in the county. The Forest is notable for plants such as herb-Paris, adder’s-tongue fern and early purple orchid. It also contains calcium-rich ‘marl lakes’, which are abundant in insect life. Proposed by the Society in 1913, a large proportion of the site is now designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), which is owned and managed by the Cornbury Park Estate. The majority of the Wychwood Forest is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

Described as ‘an area of wasteland East of Yarmouth’, this coastal site was selected by the Society as a known breeding place for scarce insects and adders. At the time, the land was believed to be under threat from development. The clay, maritime cliffs at Bouldnor and Hampstead now form part of a National Nature Reserve (NNR) stretching from Yarmouth to Newtown, and are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). They support heath and scrub habitat and provide sediment to the coast through erosion. The NNR is managed by the National Trust and the neighbouring Bouldnor Copse is managed by the Forestry Commission.

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South West

Babbicombe Cliffs, Devon

An area of Devonian limestone coast near Torbay which was known for its rare flora. The site was surveyed for the SPNR by the eminent botanist George Claridge Druce. It is now designated a SSSI and is part of the English Riviera Geopark for its geological significance.

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Ballard Down, Dorset

An area of steep south-facing chalk headland near the Dorset coast. Now owned by the National Trust, the site forms the easternmost part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. It is part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

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Berry Head, Devon

The white limestone cliffs at Berry Head in Devon were the reason it was included on the SPNR's list of sites 'worthy of preservation'. It is now a National Nature Reserve managed by the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust.

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Bloxworth Heath, Dorset

This four square mile area of heathland north of Wareham in Dorset was listed as 'worthy of preservation' by the SPNR. Part of the wider Wareham Forest area which is under the management of the Forestry Commission.

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Braunton Burrows, Devon

Braunton Burrows in north Devon is England's largest sand-dune system. It was recommended to the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation' particularly for its rare coastal plants. It was de-designated as a National Nature Reserve in 1996 and is owned and managed by the Christie Devon Estates Trust in a Stewardship Agreement with Natural England. It is part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

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Brean Down, Somerset

Brean Down overlooks the Bristol Channel and was listed by the SPNR for its 'cliffs' and rare 'birds and plants'. It is now managed by the National Trust.

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Burnham and Berrow, Somerset

A site in Somerset proposed to the SPNR for its rare plantlife and sandhills. The area is now part of Berrow Dunes SSSI.

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Chesil Bank, Dorset

The full length of this shingle beach on the Dorset coast (the longest shingle beach in Britain) was listed by the SPNR. It is now managed by the Chesil Bank and Fleet Steering Group.

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Crackington Haven, Cornwall

A coastal valley in north Cornwall proposed to the SPNR as a 'breeding place for scarce creatures', a 'locality for scarce plants' and showing 'features of special geological interest'. Now part of the wider Boscastle-Widemouth SSSI.

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Dartmoor, Devon

An area of Dartmoor, in Devon, was proposed as a reserve by the Society for to its rare plants, insects and birds. Now a National Nature reserve managed by Natural England.

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Dawlish Warren, Devon

A 'sandy warren at the mouth of the Exe'. A well known site for plants, Dawlish Warren was proposed by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by Teignbridge District Council and the Devon Wildlife Trust.

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Durdham Down, Bristol

An area of public open space close to the centre of Bristol. The SPNR was particularly interested in its areas of cliff habitat, as the site is next to the Avon Gorge and there are steep cliffs that fall down to the River Avon below.

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Ferndown, Dorset

A site that when proposed was already in danger from water drainage of surrounding land and building development. The site had a 'swampy nature' which would suffer from any drainage of the area and was home to a number of scarce insects and plants.

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Goonhilly Downs, Cornwall

A prime Cornish heathland site on the Lizard peninsula, selected by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. Goonhilly Downs is now designated a SSSI and is part of the wider Lizard National Nature Reserve. The area is dominated by the large satellite dishes of Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station. Close to Goonhilly Downs is another heathland nature reserve - North Predannack Downs - owned by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

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Gull Rock, Cornwall

A tiny island off the south Cornish coast near Nare Head, recommended to the SPNR as 'a great place for sea birds to breed'. Now part of the wider Gerrans Bay to Camels Cove SSSI.

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Gunwalloe, Cornwall

A small beach at Church Cove, Gunwalloe on the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, listed by the SPNR. The area is now part of the Baulk Head to Mullion SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

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Hambledon Hill, Dorset

A woodland and downland site near Child Okeford in Dorset. Hambledon Hill is also an important archaeological site and it is home to the remains of a prehistoric hill fort. The SPNR's main interest was the yew wood but the site is also notable for its chalk grassland and butterflies. Now managed by the National Trust as a National Nature Reserve.

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Hartland Quay, Devon

The rugged shoreline south of Hartland Quay in north Devon was noted by the SPNR for rare insects and birds including peregrine falcon and raven. Now designated as part of the wider Marsland to Clovelly Coast SSSI.

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Hengistbury Head, Dorset

A sandy headland on the south coast of England that was a noted 'lodging place and home to many birds' . The area is now designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is managed by Bournemouth Borough Council.

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Kea Downs, Cornwall

Classed by the SPNR as a heath with 'scarce plants'. The site marked in the SPNR documents is an area of enclosed farmland close to Nansavallan Wood near Truro. In their book 'Time and Fragile Nature: Rothschild's Reserves and what became of hem'', Miriam Rothschild and Peter Marren suggest that this is a mistake and that the site in question is actually Carrine Common - a mile away. This is a typical cornish heathland also with hay meadows and wildlife-rich hedgerows. It is designated a SSSI.

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Kynance Cove Cliffs, Cornwall

A woodland and downland site near Child Okeford in Dorset. Hambledon Hill is also an important archaeological site and it is home to the remains of a prehistoric hill fort. The SPNR's main interest was the yew wood but the site is also notable for its chalk grassland and butterflies. Now managed by Natural England as a National Nature Reserve.

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Leigh Woods, nr Bristol

A well known wood on the south-west side of the Avon Gorge near Bristol, listed by the SPNR for its plantlife and invertebrates. Now managed by the National Trust and the Forestry Commission, the site is also designated a National Nature Reserve.

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Littlesea, Dorset

One of the SPNR's starred sites 'comprising various ecological types'. Today the site is unspoiled, with a rich aquatic flora and fauna and has been described as having 'a dynamic ecosystem'. The surrounding heath has not fared so well, with the loss of some biodiversity. Now managed by Natural England as part of Studland and Godlingston Heath NNR.

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Lyme Regis Undercliff, Dorset

The Undercliff at Lyme Regis in Dorset was proposed as a potential nature reserve by the SPNR. It is now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

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Mendip Hills, Somerset

The SPNR selected a number of areas across the limestone escarpment of the Mendip Hills as being suitable for potential nature reserves, noting their special geological interest.

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Newquay and Perranporth (Sand dunes between), Cornwall

This site is Penhale Sands, between Newquay and Perranporth on the north coast of Cornwall. The SPNR was particularly interested in the site's extensive sand dune habitats, and regarded this as 'worthy of preservation'.

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Porlock Weir, Somerset

A site on the Somerset coast selected by Charles Rothschild for its scarce plants and as an example of shingle beach. Notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) today, Porlock Bay has nationally important saltmarsh and vegetated shingle habitats. The site is regularly visited by grey heron, little egret, shelduck, lapwing and curlew. The scarce Babington’s leek is also found here. It falls within Exmoor National Park and is managed by the Park Authority.

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Portland, Dorset

The Society was keen to protect the habitat on the east coast of Portland for two moths: Epischnia bankesiella and Butalis siccella. Today, the Isle of Portland to Studland Cliffs is designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC; European designation) – recognised for its important dry grassland and sea cliff habitats. Early gentians carpet the chalk grassland, alongside rare early spider-orchids and wild cabbage. Portland is also one of the richest coastal limestone sites for lichens in the UK, with more than 210 species being recorded here. Natural England works with local landowners to manage Portland for the benefit of its wildlife and landscapes. The site falls within UNESCO’s Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

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Shapwick Heath, Somerset

This Somerset fen was proposed by the Society as a potential nature reserve, regarded as 'worthy of preservation' for its scarce plants and insect life. Now a National Nature Reserve (NNR) managed by Natural England, it is at the heart of the Somerset Levels and Moors – an internationally renowned wetland designated as a Ramsar site. The meadows, fen, wet woods and reedbeds here play host to a range of wildlife including otters, bitterns and marsh harriers.

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St. Vincent Rocks, Gloucestershire

A site of botanical importance in the Avon Gorge near Bristol, proposed by the Society as 'worthy of preservation'. Today, St Vincent Rocks is part of Avon Gorge Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which includes Leigh Woods National Nature Reserve (NNR) on the western side of the river. The woods and gorge have a huge diversity of whitebeam trees including two which are unique to the area. The woodland itself is oak, lime and ash, with spring carpets of bluebells and wood anemones. The Gorge has natural cliffs of limestone, which are of geological interest. They support a number of nationally rare plants such as the Bristol rock-cress, which is unique to the site. The Leigh Woods NNR is managed by the National Trust.

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Start Point, Devon

Listed as a 'shingle beach' by the Society, it was considered a place of great interest for nesting and passage birds and the site of a very rare plant. Now the area falls within the South Devon Shore Dock Special Area of Conservation (SAC; so named for the rare shore dock plant which grows here) and the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The site consists of cliffs, raised pebble and sand beaches, and maritime grassland. Mining bees and wasps buzz around the cliff face, thrift grows in the grassy turf and cirl buntings nest in the dense scrub. Part owned by the National Trust.

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Steep Holm Island, Somerset

A 25-hectare rocky island in the Bristol Channel. Steep Holm Island’s was listed by the SPNR for its botanical interest and it was marked as a priority acquisition. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), famed as the only place in the UK where the wild peony grows. Managed by the Kenneth Allsop Memorial Trust.

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Street Heath, Somerset

When Street Heath was proposed in 1913, it was noted for scarce plants and insects and had already been reduced to an island of peat by drainage and cutting. Today, it is a good example of habitats once common in the Somerset Levels. It is a patchwork of wet and dry heath, bog and damp woodland, where yellow flag iris, marsh fern and heath spotted orchid can be seen. It is especially important for butterflies and moths. Now managed by the Somerset Wildlife Trust.

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Swanage Undercliff, Dorset

Proposed as a special site for scarce insects, there has been little development in the area over the years. Today, the site falls within the Isle of Portland to Studland Cliffs Special Area of Conservation (SAC) – a European designation recognising its special wildlife. Along the cliffs and downs, chalk grassland is studded with wildflowers including the rare early spider-orchid. The area is home to a number of nationally rare insects including the Lulworth skipper and Adonis blue butterflies, and the grey bush-cricket. Now managed by Dorset County Council.

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Uphill Cliffs, Somerset

The area described the Society as ‘Uphill Cliffs’ is now split into Brean Down nature reserve (a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) managed by the National Trust) and Uphill Hill Local Nature Reserve (also an SSSI, managed by North Somerset Council). The remaining part of the site is a farm. The area falls into the Mendip Limestone Grasslands Special Area for Conservation (SAC) – a European designation recognising this important habitat and its wildlife. Brean Down is famous for the rare white rock rose, which only exists in two other places in the UK. While Uphill Cliffs is home to three nationally rare plants: honewort, somerset hair-grass and goldilocks aster. Both sites are rich in insect life, with chalkhill blue, common blue, meadow brown and marbled white butterflies being present.

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Upton Towans, Cornwall

Proposed to the Society as having special geological interest. Now managed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Upton Towans Nature Reserve is an important sand dune and grassland area, which supports a range of species including glow-worm, pyramidal orchid, skylark and the scarce silver-studded blue butterfly. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Valley of Rocks, Devon

A spectacular coastal valley that was listed by the Society on scenic grounds. The Valley has been protected with little change over the years and is rich in wildlife. It is renowned for its odd rock formations, created during the last Ice Age, and is home to a herd of wild goats. Now managed by Exmoor National Park Authority, it is part of the West Exmoor Coast and Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Wareham Heath, Dorset

A beautiful heath containing decoy ponds and extensive valley bogs, which unfortunately suffered due to land drainage and afforestation. Now owned by the Forestry Commission, Wareham Forest encompasses much of the heath including Morden Bog National Nature Reserve (NNR), which is managed in partnership with Natural England. This site supports rare plants such as marsh clubmoss. Dragonflies, smooth snakes, sand lizards, woodlarks and nightjars can all be found here, while sika and roe deer frequent the wooded areas.

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Wistman's Wood, Devon

An upland wood of twisted, stunted oaks, dripping with mosses, lichens and ferns. Surrounded by the granite tors and moorland of Dartmoor National Park, Wistman’s Wood is now a National Nature Reserve (NNR) managed by Natural England.

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Woodchester, Gloucestershire

A series of woods, including Buckholt Wood, Stanley Wood and Penn Wood, which are close to the large estate of Woodchester Park. Despite clear felling and the planting of conifers in the mid-20th century, the woods are still dominated by broadleaved trees, such as ash, beech and sycamore. Restoration efforts by the current owners, The Woodland Trust, have helped this habitat to regenerate.

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Worle Hill, Somerset

Described as a limestone headland covered in woods, Worle Hill was proposed to the Society primarily for plants. This Local Nature Reserve now sits within Weston-Super-Mare and is known as Weston Woods. There is an Iron Age hillfort within the woods and a cliff offering views over Sand Bay towards Wales. Owned by North Somerset Council, the woods are now being managed for the benefit of wildlife.

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East

Adventurers' Fen, Cambridgeshire

A wild peaty fen in Cambridgeshire owned by the National Trust and selected by the SPNR as an example of fenland habitat (of which only a few vestiges remained at the turn of the twentieth century). The fen was requisitioned for agricultural use during World War War and, as a result, the fenland habitats were largely destroyed. After the War the land was returned to the National Trust and, although some of the fenland habitats have been lost, the area is now part of the National Trust's large-scale fenland restoration programme at Wicken Fen.

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Aldbury Nowers, Hertfordshire

A chalk hill in the Chilterns and noted by Rothschild for its 'rare plants and insects' particularly the silver-spotted skipper butterfly, the pasqueflower and field fleawort. Over the years the site’s interest was deteriorating through neglect and lack of management. Now managed by the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, recovery is in progress. Following chalk grassland restoration work, the small blue butterfly has recently returned to the reserve.

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Aldeburgh, Suffolk

The area listed as 'Aldeburgh' by the SPNR actually encompasses the shingle spit of Orford Ness on the Suffolk coast (the largest shingle spit in Europe). Now a National Nature Reserve managed by the National Trust.

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Barton Hills, Bedfordshire

A chalk downland site at the northern end of the Chilterns. The area was listed for its scarce 'insects and plants'. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England.

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Barton Mills, Suffolk

A botanically rich site near Barton Mills in Suffolk. Noted by the SPNR for its 'insects and plants'. Most of the area selected by the SPNR now falls within the Breckland Forest SSSI and Cavenham-Icklingham Heaths SSSI.

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Benfleet Creek, Essex

A tidal marshland listed by the SPNR as being important for 'Saltings, Insects and plants'.

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Blakeney Point, Norfolk

The saltings, sand bars, flats and channels of Blakeney Point on the Norfolk coast was listed as a refuge for 'birds plants and insects'. The site is now a National Nature Reserve, and is owned by the National Trust.

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Bricket Wood & Common, Hertfordshire

A proposed site that included 'the most primeval area in the whole of Hertfordshire' and was described as having 'valuable woods, worthless scrubs, marshland and small grass commons'.

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Broads, Norfolk

Rothschild though that recommending four of the Norfolk Broads (Horning, Barton, Hickling and Upton broads) for preservation was 'a capital idea'. The Broads are now a National Park, managed by the Broads Authority with other conservation organisations also managing individual sites. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust manages Hickling and Upton Broads. Upton Broad, home to swallowtail butterflies and Norfolk hawker dragonflies, is part of the wider Bure Valley Living Landscape where river and wetland habitats are being restored and recreated. At Hickling Broad a similar large-scale wetland restoration Living Landscape scheme is underway.

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Burnham Overy, Norfolk

A coastal site in north Norfolk noted by the SPNR for its wild saltings. The area selected by the SPNR is next to Blakeney Point NNR and forms part of the wider North Norfolk Coast SSSI.

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Caister, Norfolk

The Society had hoped to protect this thin strip of coastal sand-dunes north of Great Yarmouth as a nature reserve. However, in the intervening years much of the sand has drifted away leaving a flat beach where there were once dunes.

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Canvey Island, Essex

A tidal marshland which shared the same site number as Benfleet Creek and as such was also important for saltings, plants and insects. Land reclamation, rubbish dumping and natural erosion have all affected the original site in the years since it was selected by the SPNR as being 'worthy of preservation'. The RSPB now has a nature reserve on Canvey Island at West Canvey Marshes.

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Chippenham Fen, Cambridgeshire

Rothschild was keen to safeguard Chippenham Fen as a nature reserve and it was selected by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. It is now managed by Natural England.

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Devil's Dyke, Cambridgeshire

A 7.5 mile long Anglo-Saxon earthwork consisting of a bank and ditch built out of clay and chalk near Newmarket. The Dyke is notable for its wildflowers - including several species of orchid - and butterflies. In 2002 a partnership project began to restore the dyke involving Natural England, English Heritage, the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants and Cambridgeshire County Council's Countryside, Archaeological and Farms Units, working with landowners and managers and local residents. The site is now managed by the National Trust.

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Fleam Dyke, Cambridgeshire

A 3-mile long Anglo-Saxon earthwork in Cambridgeshire listed for its 'downland' and rare 'plants and insects'. The Fleam Dyke is home to many rare and notable wildflowers and invertebrates. In the last 20 years a lot of work has gone into the substantial restoration and extension of the surviving flora and 2005 saw the return of the chalkhill blue butterfly, which has since substantially increased in numbers. Dark green fritillaries which are completely new to the site were also seen several times during surveys in 2011, and a female was seen egg-laying on one of the numerous clumps of hairy violet which have emerged from under the scrub.

The Friends of the Roman Road and Fleam Dyke added to the work by fundraising to pay for the clearing and treatment of scrubby overgrowth, and also completing 4 – 7 work parties a year.

They have found fairy flax, mouse-ear hawkweed, horseshoe vetch, lady’s bedstraw in places which were swamped by summer growth of clematis and dewberry. But one carline thistle does not a chalk grassland make and there is a sad loss of flora across the whole 3 miles, with one exception, the clearance brought sunlight to a great deal of clustered bellflower which had been maintaining a flowerless presence on the north end of the Dyke.

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Garboldisham Heath, Norfolk

This heath with a prehistoric dyke was the locality of the rare Spiked Speedwell. Unfortunately the heath has now been destroyed due to changes in land-use.

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Hall Marsh, Essex

Chosen by the SPNR as an example of an extensive salting. Now managed by the RSPB.

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Hemley, Suffolk

Hemley was a proposed 20 acre section of tidal marshland on the River Deben in Suffolk and the locality for a rare moth. Now part of the Deben Estuary SSSI.

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Holm Fen, Huntingdonshire

Selected by the SPNR as an example of fen habitat 'worthy of preservation'. Holme Fen (now spelled with an e) is now managed by Natural England and is part of the Great Fen - a partnership project led by the BCN Wildlife Trust aiming to reconnect Holme Fen with nearby Woodwalton Fen, another vestigial fragment of wild fenland.

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Holt Lowes, Norfolk

A heathland site just south of the town of Holt in Norfolk. It is a remaining tract of a once much larger area of heathland that stretched south towards Norwich. Like many areas of commons and lowland heathland much of this area has been ploughed up and 'reclaimed' for agriculture and development but the remaining area at Holt Lowes is an entomologically rich site and is designated a SSSI and SAC for its species and habitats. It is owned and managed by the Holt Lowes Trustees.

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Orford Beach, Suffolk

Orford Beach was listed by the Society alongside Sudbourne Beach, and Kings and Lantern marshes; the area ran south along the coast from Aldeburgh to North Weir Point, and covered the beach and surrounding marshland. Today, the original site is protected as a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and managed by the National Trust and the RSPB, in partnership with Natural England. The shingle here supports a number of rare insects and beetles, while the marshland and creek are good for birds like avocet and curlew. Common terns also breed here – a factor noted by the SPNR in the original documents.

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Osea Island, Essex

A tidal saltmarsh site in Essex selected by the SPNR as an example of 'saltings'– land regularly flooded by tides. Today, the island is privately owned, but falls within the internationally recognised wetland area, the Blackwater Estuary (Ramsar site; European designations; Site of Special Scientific Interest). The mudflats, saltmarsh and pastures are important feeding and breeding grounds for birds of all kinds including common tern, Slavonian grebe, Brent goose, wigeon, dunlin, grey plover, redshank and curlew. The estuary is managed by a number of partners including Natural England, the RSPB, Essex Wildlife Trust and the National Trust.

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Ray Island, Essex

A low-lying island off the Essex coast, listed by the SPNR for its plants and insects. It was purchased by Charles Rothschild privately in 1920. He left the island to the SPNR who eventually sold it to pay for the ongoing management of Woodwalton Fen, another early nature reserve owned by the Society. Ray Island was later purchased by the National Trust and is now managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust.

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Redlodge Warren, Suffolk

The 'piece of old Breck country' was given a priority rating by the Society and listed as a site for rare birds (such as nightjars and plovers), insects and plants. Although the main site of interest has now been destroyed by landfill and development, the adjacent Red Lodge Heath is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This mosaic of dry acid grassland, chalk grassland, lichen heath and wet woodland is home to many rare bees and wasps including the cuckoo-wasp and five-banded tailed digger wasp. Privately owned and managed in partnership with Natural England.

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Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Links, Suffolk

A site that was given a priority rating by Rothschild. Owned by the Royal Worlington and Newmarket Golf Links and described as 'a splendid relic of old times', with scarce insects and plants. It remains a golf course and club today.

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Scoulton Mere, Norfolk

A site in Norfolk listed by the Society as containing 'bog habitat worthy of preservation'. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) today, Scoulton Mere is a mix of swamp, fen and bog. These habitats support a variety of plants including sphagnum mosses, lesser pond sedge, yellow flag iris, water forget-me-not and the nationally rare crested buckler fern. Now privately owned.

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Shoeburyness and Thames Estuary, Essex

This was Rothschild's attempt to protect marshland habitat for rare moths on the Essex side of the Thames Estuary. The SPNR drew up a list of owners of the land but ultimately it was not able to purchase any of the land for the formation of nature reserves.

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St. Osyth, Essex

A coastal site in Essex described as 'a natural blown sand bulwark for the coast, with saltings between it and the sea-wall' and noted for scarce plants, insects and sand plants. Now managed by Essex Wildlife Trust as Colne Point nature reserve.

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Staverton Park, Suffolk

Listed by the Society as 'primeval woodland', the site was described as 'a famous and awesome place of Tolkienesque wonder and beauty' in 1986. Today, it is a Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has an awesome woodland of ancient oak and birch, and part of the site has holly trees reputed to be the largest in the UK. It may have been a deer park in the Middle Ages and there is a fenced-off area for these mammals now. Privately managed.

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Tuddenham Fen, Suffolk

Originally noted as a small area of fen and fen carr (wet woodland) close to the river, Tuddenham Fen is still in existence today and is included in the much larger Cavenham Heath National Nature Reserve (NNR). Much of the site is dry, acidic heathland, although the proximity of the river allows for some damper habitats including fen, wet meadows and willow scrub. Such diverse habitats attract a wide range of birds including whinchat, wheatear, hen harrier, woodlark and stone curlew. Now managed by Natural England.

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Thames Estuary, Essex

The Thames Estuary was proposed in an attempt to safeguard rare moths. Although a lot of the marshland remains, it has suffered from habitat loss and at least one rare species of moth is now extinct. Nonetheless, the Thames Estuary supports an important population of overwintering wildfowl and waders. It has a number of reserves sited along it, and much of it is designated as an internationally important wetland (Ramsar site) and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its birdlife.

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Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

Listed as a priority site by the Society, this famous fen was noted for its many scarce plants and insects. It has been in the care of the National Trust since 1899, and has changed over time with the encroachment of scrub, and the loss of fen to wet grassland and reedbeds. Nonetheless, with a long list of designations, including as an internationally important wetland site under the Ramsar Convention and as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), it remains a special site for wildlife today. Otter, water vole, marsh harrier, bearded tit, great fen segde, fen violet, and over 400 rare insects are just some of the species found here.

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Winterton, Norfolk

This site was given the highest priority as an excellent example of a dynamic sand-dune system and for the rare moths found here. Today, it is a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and supports a number of habitats such as dune slacks, heath, grassland and birch woodland. Little terns breed on site, marsh harriers hunt overhead and Natterjack toads breed in the shallow pools. The rare pygmy footman moth – originally noted by the Society – still inhabits the site, too. Now managed by Natural England.

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Woodwalton Fen, Huntingdonshire

Woodwalton Fen was purchased by Charles Rothschild in 1910 and given to the Society as its first major nature reserve in 1919. A bungalow on stilts can be found on site, built by Rothschild as a place for studying the wildlife here. Now a National Nature Reserve (NNR) managed by Natural England, Woodwalton Fen provides flood relief for surrounding farmland and is home to many rare species like bittern, reed bunting, fen violet and carnivorous bladderwort. It is also part of the Great Fen scheme, which aims to reconnect remaining fragments of fenland at Woodwalton and Holme Fen NNR. The Great Fen is a partnership involving the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants, Natural England, the Environment Agency, Middle Level Commissioners and Huntingdonshire District Council.

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Midlands

Bomere, Shropshire

Bomere, a groundwater-fed lake or 'mere', is located a few miles south of Shropshire. It is designated as a SSSI due to its oligotrophic (nutrient-poor) condition. It is in private ownership and is home to a watersports centre.

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Dovedale, Derbyshire

The SPNR wanted to list the whole of Dovedale as a nature reserve, which it noted for its rare plants and insects. Still a popular beauty spot, it is a National Nature Reserve owned by the National Trust.

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Freshney Bog or Blow Wells, Lincolnshire

A small site in North Lincolnshire of less than 10 ha. It was listed by the SPNR due to its 'blow wells' - artesian springs bubbling through the peat where they formed circular pools of ‘various sizes and great depth, always full but never overflowing. And the water was always moving.’ The site lay only 2 miles from Grimsby and as the town expanded the council acquired it and used it as a rubbish dump. It is now managed by North East Lincolnshire Council. The distinctive blow wells are gone and the bog itself was completely destroyed when it was turned into a municipal rubbish dump. However the Council undertook some management to restore the site, and it is now managed by the Woodland Trust.

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Harleston Heath, Northamptonshire

A heathland in Northamptonshire selected by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. The intervening years have seen much of the heathland habitat destroyed, mostly through afforestation and housing development. The BCN Wildlife Trust now manages a 3 hectare strip of heathland as a nature reserve - this is all that remains of the original site.

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Helpstone Heath, Northamptonshire

A mainly grassland site near Peterborough, proposed to the SPNR as a location for scarce insects and plants, badgers and 'pole-cats'. The site was subsequently ploughed for the war effort and has since been quaried for its stone, with the result that the original grassland has been destroyed although some botanical traces may remain in one of the disused quarries, which forms an outlying part of Castor Hanglands National Nature Reserve.

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Hartlebury Common, Worcestershire

A heathland common in Worcestershire which was noted by the SPNR for its 'unusual assemblage of plants for an inland region'. The common is now owned by Worcestershire County Council. Hartlebury Common Local Group, founded in 2006, holds twice a month conservation work parties on the Common and supports a ten year plan for the management of the Common, which runs until 2020.

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Hopwas Hays Wood, Staffordshire

Listed by the SPNR as a large 'primeval forest' and 'a good place for plants which frequent woody places' as well as birds and insects. Although it has no statutory conservation designation, Hopwas Hays Wood is still the largest area of woodland in south east Staffordshire and is important for an number of protected species such as otter and grass snake. A large part of the wood is owned by Tarmac.

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Huttoft, Lincolnshire

At Huttoft, on the Lincolnshire coast, the SPNR identified two parallel dykes and their banks stretching eastward from the village of Huttoft to the old Roman sea wall. This site was marked for preservation due to the rare Blue Iris Iris spuria. The dykes are still there but sadly this iris has not been seen since 1982. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust owns a nearby nature reserve at Huttoft Bank Pit - a flooded pit created by excavations for repairs to the nearby sea wall.

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Ludlow Great Wood, Herefordshire

A woodland site close to Ludlow in Herefordshire, selected by the SPNR as an example of woodland habitat and proposed as a potential nature reserve.

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Millersdale, Derbyshire

A Derbyshire dale noted by the SPNR for its 'mountains and cliffs'. Miller's Dale now lies within the Peak District National Park and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust also manage several nature reserves in the vicinity including Miller's Dale Quarry SSSI and Priestcliffe Lees nature reserve. 

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Oakley Purlieus, Northamptonshire

An ancient wood in Northamptonshire, known to have a rich flora and rare insects. Today only a fragment of the original wood remains as most of the original habitat has been destroyed by quarrying activity.

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Pitt's Wood, Birmingham

A woodland site near Birmingham proposed to the Society as a potential nature reserve for its rare birds and for both rare and ornamental plants. Today, the woodland is surrounded by development, and owned by Woodhouse Primary School. It had lain derelict until 2004, when the Education Authority took back responsibility for its management. Since then, a voluntary group, the Friends of Pitts Wood, has helped to transform it for the benefit of the local community. 

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Scotton Common, Lincolnshire

Described in 1913 as 'a wide expanse of peat with some natural pinewood and birch' and identified by the SPNR as being of interest for its 'birds, plants and insects'. Unfortunately almost the whole site was destroyed when it was planted with conifers by the Forestry Commission. The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust rescued the last remaining fragment of heathland in 1954 and Scotton Common became one of its earliest nature reserves.

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Skegness, Lincolnshire

Areas of sand dunes to the north and south of Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast were identified by the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation'. Unfortunately, in the intervening years some habitat has been lost to coastal erosion and development, but the establishment of Gibraltar Point nature reserve to the south of Skegness in 1948 has ensured that some of this area has remained protected. Gibraltar Point was the first nature reserve of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and was later designated as a National Nature Reserve. It is internationally recognised for its important habitats and species.

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Sutton Heath and Bog, Northamptonshire

An area of typical ‘primeval country’, recommended to the Society for birds, insects and rare plants. Today, it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its grassland and marsh habitats. Natural England works with local landowners to ensure its protection for wildlife.

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Swaddiwell Field, Northamptonshire

One of the smallest 'Rothschild sites' at less than 20 acres. The proposed reserve was noted for 'insects and plants', but was eventually destroyed by quarrying and agriculture. However natural colonisation of the quarry has resulted in the re-colonisation by many of the species originally noted. Today Swaddywell Pit is managed as a nature reserve by a local charity, the Langdyke Countryside Trust, with support from the local Wildlife Trust.

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White Water, Northamptonshire

Originally noted by the Society for its plants and birds, White Water Reservoir is owned by Burghley Estate and is still of value to wildlife, but is not open to the public.

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Wyre Forest, Worcestershire

Part of one of the largest ancient oak woodlands in England, the Wyre Forest is on the border of Shropshire and Worcestershire and was noted by the Society for its 'birds, insects and plants'. In the past, the Forest was managed as coppice, providing charcoal and timber products. A mix of woodland, grassland and damper ground, it is home to an array of species including dormouse, marsh fragrant orchid, crossbill, adder and the rare pearl-bordered fritillary. The Forestry Commission now owns and manages around half the Forest. Part of the site is designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and is jointly managed with Natural England. Around two-thirds of the area is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Wales

Aberffraw, Anglesey

A coastal site in Angelsey, selected by the SPNR for its sand dunes and rare plants. This site is an SSSI and SAC and is registered as common land in private ownership, managed by the Countryside Council for Wales.

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Craig Breidden, Montgomeryshire

A large volcanic border hill overlooking Shropshire and Montgomeryshire, famed for its rare and interesting flora and the unusual mix of calcicolous and calcifugous plants on the cliff ledges. The botanist George Claridge Druce proposed the site to the SPNR as containing scarce plants and being of special geological interest.

The unusual mix of plants at Craig Breidden results from the chemical properties of the dolerite rock and the veins of calcite and other minerals running through it. The hill remains in the ownership of a private estate, but the large part of Craig Breidden is occupied by a large multinational aggregates company and a vast quarry has removed significant part of the hill and its natural crags. The product is some of the highest quality road stone in the country.

The northern wooded crags and summit grassland is leased from the estate by the Forestry Commission. Critically, the most important west and south crags of Craig Breidden (within the active quarry site) were safeguarded from quarrying in the 1977 through a section 52 legal agreement, which prevented these areas from being quarried. Despite whole of the hill being first notified as an SSSI in 1953, the quarrying permissions predate this by 7 years, and quarrying continues. A recent review of the mineral planning conditions under which the quarry operates has ensured that heavy duty fencing is in place to reduce the risk of rocks and debris showering down on the crags damaging the vegetation, as the quarry gets closer to these areas. Other conditions have been incorporated to the permission to help safeguard the nationally important flora and fauna as the quarry expands towards its final footprint.

Under the current development plan a further 17 million tonnes of rock is still to be won, which will likely see the quarry remain for approximately another 30 years. It must be said that certain species have done badly from the quarrying – The moss Bartramia stricta is thought to have been lost for example – whereas others may well be doing well out of the regular disturbance of the site – the endemic shaggy mouse-ear hawkweed Pilosella peleteriana sbsp. peleteriana seems to colonise newly exposed areas fairly quickly. The three rarities often cited as Breidden’s specialities – Rock cinquefoil Potentilla rupestris, Spiked speedwell Veronica spicata and sticky catchfly Lychnis viscaria remain as native populations on the crags, albeit in lower numbers and tighter distribution than were known historically. That said, an equally if not more significant impact on the rare plants (particularly Potentilla rupestris) was not the quarrying, but overcollecting by zealous botanical collectors.

The recently taxonomic split of whitebeam trees has resulted in Sorbus stirtoniana being described from the site – it is thought endemic to Breidden. Despite the long standing natural history interest of the site, Craig Breidden still retains a sense of the unexplored, with new findings being recorded in recent years, including the moss Schistidium helveticum (new to Wales), clustered clover Trifolium glomeratum and locally uncommon plants such as hairy violet Viola hirta. The may be due to the access issues surrounding the working quarry, or just the inaccessibility of some of the crags.

The invertebrate fauna of the hill has yet to be explored in any real detail. CCW work closely with the quarry company to achieve what gains we can, and recent work to remove trees from the crags has created more sunlit conditions for the notable plants as well as providing good habitat for populations of Grayling and Dingy skipper butterfly. More works are needed to remove the Scot’s pine from the remnant natural cliffs to reduce shading and pine needle litter and CCW are working closely with the local authority and the quarry company to attempt to achieve this. The above organisations are also working collectively to ensure that an appropriate restoration and aftercare plan is in place for the quarried areas of the hill.

(Thanks to Alastair Hotchkiss at the Countryside Council for Wales for the information on Craig Breidden)

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Craig-y-Cilau, Brecknock

Craig y Cilau is a spectacular limestone escarpment, which stands some 122 metres high near the southern border of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is one of the largest upland limestone cliffs in Wales, and this limestone supports its own characteristic flora, which is unusual in Wales. It was declared a National Nature Reserve (NNR) in 1959 and is currently managed by Natural Resources Wales.

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Clogwyn, North Wales

A site near the summit of Snowdon, proposed to the Society for its scarce plants. Now within the Snowdonia National Park.

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Boughrood, Radnorshire

A site in the valley of the upper River Wye, proposed to the Society for its saltings and plants, including the rare rock cinquefoil which was noted as 'growing here'.

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Great Orme's Head, North Wales

A limestone headland on the Creuddyn Peninsula next to Llandudno, the Great Orme was proposed as a piece of 'primeval country' by the SPNR. Now designated as a SSSI and SAC, it is managed by Conwy County Borough Council's Countryside Service.

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Holyhead Mountain, North Wales

A site near South Stack Lighthouse was proposed to the Society listed primarily for its scarce plants, including a species of rock-rose. Now managed by the RSPB.

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Kenfig, Wales

A site in Glamorgan that was proposed to the Society for its sand dunes. Now managed by Bridgend County Borough Council and Natural Resources Wales, it is a designated SSSI.

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Kidwelly, Wales

A site in Carmarthen, proposed to the Society for its sand dunes. Now protected as Pembrey Forest nature reserve, managed by Natural Resources Wales.

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Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey

A coastal site on Anglesey proposed to the SPNR as a 'breeding place for scarce creatures', primarily for birds and a potential nature reserve. This is now a Countryside Council for Wales National Nature Reserve (NNR).

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Llandudno Sand Hills, North Wales

A site proposed to the SPNR by the Llandudno and District Field Club for its scarce plants and sea bird populations.

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Llyn Idwal, North Wales

Llyn Idwal is a small lake lying within Cwm Idwal in the Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia. It was proposed to the SPNR as a potential nature reserve for its rare plantlife. The site is now owned by the National Trust and managed by the Countryside Council for Wales with some assistance from Snowdonia National Park.

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Porth Dafarch, Anglesey

A site in Anglesey noted as 'primeval country'. Proposed by the SPNR as a potential nature for its importance as a 'locality for scarce plants' and the only site in Wales for Senecio spathalifolius, now known as Tephroseris integrifolia.

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Presaddfed Lake, Anglesey

A site proposed to the Society as a potential nature reserve and a 'breeding place for scarce creatures', primarily birds. Known as Llyn Llywenan, the lake is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), today. The largest natural lake on Anglesey island, it is host to a number of rare aquatic plants including eight-stamened waterwort, spring quillwort and needle spike-rush. It hosts a variety of overwintering wildfowl. Privately owned and run as a fishing lake.

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Puffin Island, Anglesey

The Society considered Puffin Island, just off the coast of Anglesey, as 'worthy of preservation' and proposed it as a potential nature reserve. Today, it has a number of conservation designations including as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its important population of breeding cormorants. It also supports many other seabirds including puffins, black guillemots, herring gulls and eider ducks. Unfortunately, introduced brown rats have been heavily predating on the ground-nesting birds, but measures are underway to control their populations. This site is privately managed.

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Skerries, North Wales

A group of offshore islands near Anglesey proposed to the Society as 'worthy of preservation' because they were a ‘nesting place for seabirds’. Now managed by the RSPB, the Skerries are home to breeding Arctic, common and, occasionally, roseate terns. These rocky islands, characterised by cliffs and maritime grasslands, also support significant numbers of breeding herring and lesser black-backed gulls.

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Stanner Rocks, Radnorshire

A site proposed to the Society as an area containing several rare species of plant. Although Stanner Rocks was known to Victorian naturalists as a place of great interest, it was not until the 1970s that local botanist, Ray Woods, discovered the Radnor lily thriving at the reserve – the only known location for this rare flower in the UK. Today, Stanner Rocks is a National Nature Reserve (NNR) managed by the Natural Resources Wales.

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Sully Island, Wales

A site in the Bristol Channel, proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce creatures, primarily birds. Today, it is noted for its special geology – the sea cliff exposures provide an insight into the Triassic period (200 million years ago) when the area was a beach between a desert and a marine lagoon. The area is also important for overwintering wading birds. A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Sully Island is now privately owned.

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Sychnant Pass, North Wales

A site near Conwy proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce insects. An area of heath, acid grassland and bracken, Sychnant Pass falls within Snowdonia National Park and is home to the rare Ashworth’s rustic and weaver’s wave moths. Marshy areas, ponds and streams also attract black darter and migrant hawker dragonflies, and great crested newts. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is managed by the Park Authority.

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Tregaron Bog, Wales

A site in Ceredigion described as ‘primeval country’. It was proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce creatures and plants. Today, it is part of the Cors Caron National Nature Reserve (NNR), which is managed by Natural Resources Wales. The reserve boasts three raised bogs – areas of deep peat that have built up since the last Ice Age – that are surrounded by a unique mix of habitats teeming with wildlife such as otters, water voles and dragonflies. Cors Caron is also a wetland of international importance (Ramsar site) and an SAC.

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Worm's Head, Wales

On the Gower Peninsula in Glamorgan, this site was proposed to the Society primarily for its birdlife. A tidal island in Rhossili bay, Worm’s Head is part of the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – the first AONB to be designated in the UK in 1956. The bay consists of a long, sandy beach, lowland heath and the rocky outcrop at Worm’s Head. Grey seals, choughs and peregrine falcons are just some the species that can be seen here. The site is part of a National Nature Reserve (NNR) and is managed by the National Trust.

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Scotland

Ailsa Crag, Scotland

A rocky island lying in the outer Firth of Clyde, proposed to the Society as a key breeding place for seabirds. Now an RSPB seabird sanctuary.

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Auchmithie and Lunan Bay Cliffs, Scotland

The SPNR proposed the curving sweep of Lunan Bay in Forfarshire and its nearby cliffs as a nature reserve. It was particularly noted as a breeding place for birds and a locality for scarce plants. It is still noted as one of Scotland's finest beaches today.

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Balta Sound, Scotland

A site in the Shetlands proposed to the Society as an 'area of primeval country' and a locality for scarce plants including the Shetland mouse-ear (Cerastium nigrecens), a diminuitive wildflower endemic to Shetland.

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Bardrain Glen and Marshes, Scotland

This site was proposed to the Society as a piece of typical primeval country 'for the most part' - notable for some uncommon birds, its geological interest and especially for its scarce plants.

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Barry Links, Scotland

A coastal site in Carnoustie proposed to the SPNR as an 'area of primeval country' and a locality for scarce plants. Much of the area selected by the SPNR is now within Barry Buddon military training area, owned by the Ministry of Defence. Most of the training area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and an EU Special Area of Conservation (SAC), as well as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds under the European Birds Directive.

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Bass Rock, Scotland

An island in the outer Firth of Forth, proposed to the SPNR as 'worthy of preservation' as a breeding place for seabirds. More information on the history of Bass Rock is available on the North Berwick website.

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Beauly River, Scotland

Located on the north side of the Beauly River, there is little information as to the reasons for the proposal of this site as an area 'worthy of preservation' except that it is owned by Lord Lovat.

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Beinn Heasgarnich, Scotland

A mountain in Perthshire noted by the SPNR as 'primeval country' and proposed as a location for scarce plants including Carex punctata (dotted sedge).

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Beinn Laoigh, Scotland

A mountain at the head of Glen Fyne, proposed to the Society for its scarce plants. Known today as Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh is the Scottish Gaelic) it is designated a SSSI and National Nature Reserve.

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Beinn Nan Eachan, Scotland

The SPNR selected the summit area of Beinn Nan Eachan, a mountain in Perthshire, as a locality for scarce plants.

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Ben Hope, Scotland

This mountain, located in the far north-east of Scotland, was proposed to the SPNR as being 'worthy of preservation' for the special geological importance of its 'fine mountain cliffs'.

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Ben Lawers, Scotland

This mountain was proposed to the Society as 'being 'worthy of preservation' as 'a breeding place for scarce creatures, primarily insects and scarce plants'. Now a National Nature Reserve managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

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Ben Vrackie, Scotland

A mountain in Perthshire, proposed to the Society as a locality for scarce plants. Now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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Betty Hill, Scotland

A coastal site in Sutherlandshire proposed for its 'remarkable' scarce plants, including Primula scotica (Scottish Primrose).

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Burrafirth, Scotland

A proposed area of 'great botanical interest' on Unst in the Shetlands. The papers include numerous letters regarding the proposed purchase of the site. Now managed as an National Nature Reserve.

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Caen Lochan Glen, Scotland

A small glen in the Grampian Mountains proposed to the SPNR as a location for scarce plants. The area is now designated a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Conservation Area (SAC) for its species and habitats.

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Callander, Scotland

A site in Perthshire recommended primarily for its plant life. This area is now within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

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Creag an Dail Bheag, Scotland

A mountain in the Cairngorms, described as 'primeval country'. Proposed by the SPNR as a breeding place for scarce creatures, primarily insects and for scarce plants.

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Cublin Sands, Scotland

This coastal site in Scotland was proposed by the SPNR as a nature reserve for its sand dunes. Now managed by the RSPB.

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Foula Isle, Scotland

A remote island in the Shetlands proposed by the SPNR as a reserve for its bird life. The name Foula means 'Bird Island' in Old Norse and the island is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for birds, a National Scenic Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its plants, birds and geology.

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Glen Doll, Scotland

A site in Forfarshire noted as 'primeval country', proposed to the Society primarily for its plant life. Now within the Cairngorms National Park, Glen Doll also includes Corrie Fee National Nature Reserve.

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Glen Farg, Scotland

A site in Perthshire, with little information within the survey as to why it was selected by the SPNR.

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Glen Fee, Scotland

A site in Forfarshire described as 'primeval country', proposed to the Society primarily for its plant life. There are no maps in the SPNR documents but it is possible that the 'Fee' in the site name refers to Corrie Fee - now a National Nature Reserve at the head of Glen Cova in the Angus Glens.

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Glen Luce Sands, Scotland

A site in Wigtonshire, with little information on the survey document as to why it was proposed to the Society. Luce Bay is now designated a Special Area for Conservation (SAC) for its dune, seashore and seabed habitats.

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Holborn Head, Scotland

This stretch of coastline around Thurso in the far north of Scotland was proposed to the SPNR as piece of 'primeval country' and a locality for scarce plants. Holborn Head is now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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Inchnadamph, Scotland

A site in north Scotland proposed to the Society for its limestone mountain cliffs. It is a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

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Keltneyburn, Scotland

A site in Perthshire proposed to the SPNR as a piece of ‘typical primeval country’, known for its scarce plants. Keltneyburn is one of the finest species-rich grasslands in Scotland, and is home to eight species of orchid. This site, which also includes an old curling pond which is a haven for insects and a steep wooded gorge covered with broadleaved woodland, is now owned by the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

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Loch Kander, Scotland

A small mountain lochan in Aberdeenshire, proposed by the SPNR primarily for its plantlife.

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Loch Laide, Scotland

A small loch close to Loch Ness. Recommended by the SPNR as a potential nature reserve for its bird life.

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Loch Leven, Scotland

Areas around the shore of Loch Leven were proposed by the SPNR as a potential nature reserve for their rare plant life. Now managed by the RSPB.

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Loch Rescobie, Scotland

A loch proposed to the Society as a locality for scarce plants including Ranunculus confervoides.

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Loch Ruthven, Scotland

A small loch close to Loch Ness. It was proposed by Charles Rothschild as a potential nature reserve for its birdlife. No further details are given in the SPNR documentation on the site but it is likley that one of the species Rothschild was interested in was the slavonian grebe, as Loch Ruthven is one of the best places in the UK to see this rare bird.

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Loch Scarmclate, Scotland

A small loch in the far north of Scotland, this site was proposed by the SPNR as a locality for scarce plants. Now designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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Lochan Na Lairige, Scotland

A lochan proposed to the Society as a locality for scarce plants. Now managed by the National Trust for Scotland within Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve.

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Loch Nagar, Scotland

A site in Aberdeenshire proposed to the SPNR as a locality for scarce plants and a potential nature reserve.

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Lunan Cliffs, Scotland

The eminent botanist George Claridge Druce recommended this site to the SPNR, primarily for its birdlife and rare plants.

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Meikle Kilrannoch, Scotland

An upland site in Angus, proposed to the Society primarily for its plant life. Now designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a SAC.

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Montreathmont Moor, Scotland

A site in east Scotland proposed to the SPNR as a potential nature reserve and a locality for scarce plants. Now managed by the Forestry Commission.

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Oban, Scotland

A piece of 'primeval country', proposed to the Society as 'a breeding place for scarce creatures', primarily insects. Unfortunately, the area has since been encroached upon by development and a golf course, although patches of wildlife still remain.

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Oib, Loch Sween, Scotland

A site on the west coast of Scotland at Loch Sween. The precise location recommended to the Society as being 'well fitted' for the purpose of a nature reserve was the Oib peninsula projecting into Loch Sween. Particular note was made of its marine life. Today, the whole of the Loch falls under the Argyll and Outer Hebrides National Scenic Area (NSA), while the land is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC; European designation). Taynish National Nature Reserve (NNR) is also on the west side of the Loch. Oak woodlands, dripping with mosses and lichens, cover the land, their clearings filled with butterflies and dragonflies, and otters live on the Loch.

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Port William Beach, Scotland

A shingle beach near Port William in Scotland. Noted by the Society as having special geological features and as a locality for many scarce plants. Now part of the Luce Bay and Sands Special Area of Conservation (SAC), the site has been recognised for its important sand dune habitats. It is home to protected great crested newts and supports a number of fisheries. Managed by Solway Firth Partnership, alongside Scottish Natural Heritage and local landowners.

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Rannoch, Scotland

This area was described by Rothschild as 'one of the most remarkable entomological stations in the kingdom' and was also noted for its plants, including bog myrtle. Loch Rannoch falls into two National Scenic Areas (NSAs): Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon; and Ben Nevis and Glen Coe. The shores around Loch Rannoch are richly wooded with native pine, birch, oak and juniper; the Black Wood of Rannoch being the most extensive area of relict Caledonian forest remaining in Perthshire. Rannoch Moor is an internationally important blanket bog.

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Reay, Scotland

A site of coastal cliffs and sand dunes, proposed to the Society as a locality for scarce plants like the Scottish primrose. Despite now being next to Dounreay Nuclear Power Plant, part of the original site at Sandside Bay is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and, along with the coastline to the west of it, falls within a Special Protection Area (SPA) – a European designation recognising the importance of the area for breeding birds such as peregrine falcon, puffin, fulmar, razorbill and kittiwake.

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Rerwick Cliffs, Scotland

A coastal site on the Solway Firth proposed to the Society primarily for birds and plants. Actually spelt Rerrick, but cited as Rerwick by the Society, today, the cliffs and coast here are protected as two Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs): Torrs to Mason's Walk and Abbey Burn Foot to Balcary Point. Windswept maritime cliffs, vegetated shingle and saltmarsh attract breeding seabirds like cormorant, kittiwake, fulmar and guillemot, along with a nationally scarce species of pill woodlouse.

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Restenneth Marsh, Scotland

A site proposed to the Society as a locality for scarce plants, Restenneth Moss (as it is now known) is an important wetland, created when a former loch was dug for marl (lime-rich mud) many years ago. The seventh-century Restenneth Priory sits next to the Moss, which is a mix of wet woodland, scrub, reedswamp and fen. The site supports many interesting plants and is a breeding ground for grasshopper warblers.

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Ronas Hill, Scotland

Ronas Hill in the highest summit in Shetland, and represents the remains of an ancient volcano. It has a sub-Arctic climate and a mix of blanket bog, montane, heath, cliff and scree habitats. Rare alpine plants grow here, such as Alpine lady’s mantle, spiked woodrush and mountain azalea. The lochs and pools are vital for birdlife and support the densest population of breeding red-throated divers in the UK. The area has been internationally recognised for its wildlife and has numerous designations, including as a Ramsar site.

No documents available

Rose Haugh, Scotland

A site proposed as a potential nature reserve for its scarce plants, including alpine butterwort. Today, the land is not designated for nature and is privately owned.

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Shin River, Scotland

The site proposed by the Society was the 'area west of the River Shin’. At the time, this was land within the estate of Skibo Castle, home of the businessman Andrew Carnegie. Today, the castle is a highly exclusive hotel, while the proposed area – now Achany Forest – is owned by the Forestry Commission. There is a visitor centre at the Falls of Shin where, in summer, you can watch Atlantic salmon leaping over the waterfalls as they move up river to breed. The area is rich in wildlife including birds like crossbill, siskin and goldcrest, alongside the elusive pine martin.

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St Kilda, Scotland

As the remotest part of the British Isles, the islands of St Kilda, 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, form the most important seabird breeding site in northwest Europe. Today, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its beauty and wildlife. With cliffs, sea stacks and grassy slopes, the islands are ideally suited to nesting birds like puffin, kittiwake, fulmar, razorbill and guillemot. They also host the largest population of breeding gannets in the world. Now managed by the National Trust for Scotland in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and the MoD.

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Sow of Atholl, Scotland

A site in Scotland proposed by the Society as 'worthy of preservation', primarily for its insects. Today, this upland area of bog, heath and scree in the Drumochter Hills is safeguarded under a number of designations for its important wildlife, including as a Special Protection Area (SPA; European designation for birds) for its breeding populations of merlin and dotterel.

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Tafts Ness, Scotland

A site on Sanday Island in the Orkneys that was proposed to the Society as a breeding place for scarce birds. At the time, there was a serious issue with egg-stealing in the area. Today, the site is internationally recognised for its important populations of waders and wildfowl such as purple sandpiper, turnstone and bar-tailed godwit. As part of the East Sanday Coast, it has a number of designations including as a Ramsar site and Special Protection Area (SPA).

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Tain Sand Hills, Scotland

Although the survey document holds little information about why this site in Ross-shire was originally proposed to the Society, it is now internationally recognised as a vital area for overwintering wildfowl and wading birds (Ramsar site). Extensive mudflats are backed by saltmarsh, sand dunes and wet woodland. It is home to threatened wildlife such as osprey, otters and common seals, and has numerous protective designations.

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Tairneilear, Scotland

A site on the Isle of Skye. The original survey documents provide little information on why it was proposed to the Society, but, today, the site falls within a large Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) called Cuillins. A mix of upland bog, woodland, fen, rock and heath habitats, it is home to an important population of breeding golden eagles; as a result, it has been designated a Special Protection Area (SPA; European designation).

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Tummell, Scotland

A site in Perthshire proposed to the Society for its scarce plants, the south bank of Loch Tummel now falls into one of Scottish Natural Heritage’s National Scenic Areas – places protected for their outstanding landscapes. Loch Tummel itself became part of a hydro-electric power scheme when Clunie Dam was constructed there in 1950. It is still very beautiful, however, and its most famous spot is Queen’s View – a vantage point on the north shore which was a favourite haunt of Queen Victoria.

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West Watten Moss, Scotland

A site described as ‘primeval country’, which was proposed to the Society as a locality for scarce plants. The site appears to be privately owned today, but is adjacent to a large Special Area for Conservation (SAC) and Ramsar Site (an internationally important wetland) called the Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands.

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Wick River, Scotland

A site in Caithness, Highland, proposed to the Society for its 'fine saltings' – land regularly flooded by tides. Today, parts of the river are designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Wick River is bordered by marshes and attracts a variety of wading birds and wildfowl. The Wick Sedge can be found here and at only two other sites in the whole of the UK. Scottish Natural Heritage works in partnership with local landowners to ensure the conservation of Wick River: Wick River Marshes, and Lower Wick River.

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Ireland

Ahascragh Bogs, Ireland

A site in Galway proposed to the SPNR as a' breeding place for scarce creatures' - primarily insects.

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Ben Bulben, Ireland

An impressive rock formation near Sligo. It was noted by the SPNR as an area of 'primeval country' of interest for its plantlife. Now managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service.

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Cloonee Valley, Ireland

Sorry - no information is available on this site.

No documents

Brandon Mountain, Ireland

An upland site on the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry, known as 'Mount Brandon'. The original survey documents and maps provide little information as to why it was of specific interest to the SPNR.

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Dunloe, Ireland

A narrow mountain pass between Macgillycuddy's Reeks and Purple Mountain in County Kerry known as the Gap of Dunloe. The original survey provides little information as to why it was proposed to the Society.

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Errisbeg, Ireland

This mountain near Roundstone in Galway, was proposed to the Society for its Lusitanian flora.

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Kenmare (River), Ireland

This site refers to 2000 acres on the Lansdowne Estate which was put forward to the SPNR as being suitable for the establishment of a nature reserve. There is little information in the original survey documents to suggest the specific reasons it was proposed to the Society.

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Killarney, Ireland

An area in County Kerry, proposed to the Society for 'very lovely scenery of botanical interest'. Now within the Killarney National Park. Killarney National Park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), part of a world network of natural areas which have conservation, research, education and training as major objectives.

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Killucan, Ireland

A site listed as 'Bogs about Killucan' and proposed to the SPNR as an example of 'primeval country'.

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Lough Neagh, Antrim

The SPNR was interested in protecting land along the eastern shore of Lough Neagh as a potential nature reserve. It is not clear from the SPNR’s records whether this included the area now protected by Oxford Island National Nature Reserve, located on the south-eastern shore of the Lough. Lough Neagh is the UK’s largest freshwater lake, 160 square miles in extent, and drains almost half of North Ireland with six rivers flowing in and only one flowing out. It is now a Nature Reserve internationally recognized for its importance for wildfowl.

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Mowhill, Ireland

A site listed by the SPNR as 'Bogs close to Mowhill'. The site was proposed to the Society primarily for its importance for invertebrates.

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North Bull, Ireland

A sandy island in Dublin Bay. It's birdlife has been protected by legislation since the 1930s. Bull Island is now a National Nature Reserve managed by Dublin City Council.

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Raven's Point, Wexford

A coastal site near Wexford, Ireland. There is little information on the Society's questionnaire as to why it was selected, but it is now protected as Raven Point Nature Reserve and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). A dynamic sand dune system, continually transformed by the power of the sea and wind, it is home to natterjack toad, red-breasted merganser, Greenland white-fronted goose and a number of rare beetles. Now managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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Rostonstown Burrow, Ireland

A site at Rostonstown Burrow in Wexford. Internationally recognised for its important habitats and birdlife, it is now designated as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). With an intertidal reef and a shallow lagoon, fringed by swamp and separated from the sea by sand and shingle, the site supports a wide range of wildlife. Rare plants include cottonweed and lesser centuary, while birds like sandwich and roseate terns, gadwall, marsh harrier and shoveler breed here. 

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Saltee Islands, Ireland

A site in County Wexford proposed to the Society as 'a wonderful breeding place for seabirds'. Today, the Saltee Islands remain a haven for birds like gannets, puffins, razorbills and Manx shearwaters. The islands are a Special Area of Conservation (SAC; European designation). Although privately owned, visitors are welcome.

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Shannon (River), Ireland

A site described by the Society as 'bogs bordering the Shannon' and proposed for its importance 'as a breeding place for scarce creatures'. It is now part of an internationally important wetland called the River Shannon Callows Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Mainly wet grassland, the area is vital for overwintering waterfowl, such as whooper’s swan, wigeon, golden plover and back-tailed godwit, and is also home to otters. Now managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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The Burren, Ireland

The sweeping limestone pavements of The Burren in south west Ireland were proposed to the Society as a location of great botanical interest. The Burren region is internationally famous for its plant life: arctic-alpine plants live side-by-side with Mediterranean plants, while woodland plants grow out in the open with not a tree nearby. The Burren covers about 250 square kilometres; most of it is designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and The Burren National Park is located in the south east. It is managed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service of Ireland.

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White Park Bay, Ireland

A site noted by the survey document as 'White and Ash Cliffs', it is actually the cliffs around White Park Bay in County Antrim. Although there is little information as to why it was proposed to the Society, this area of sandy beach and ancient dunes is rich in wildlife and is now managed by the National Trust.

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Wicklow Sand Dunes, Ireland

Just south of Wicklow, this site is now part of a Special Area for Conservation (SAC) known as Magherabeg Dunes. It is a well-established sand dune system, showing various stages of succession from embryonic dunes to woodland. A rare species of hybrid sedge can be found here, along with Moore’s horsetail, the grayling butterfly, otter and kingfisher. Ireland’s National Parks & Wildlife Service works with private landowners in the area to conserve this site and its special wildlife.

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We'd love to hear from you

If you would like to amend or add to the information we have on a site that you or your organisation manage, or if you have any old photographs of Rothschild reserves we can add to our gallery, please get in touch.

We have made this archive available on a non-commercial basis. If you hold the copyright to any of the items in this archive please contact us.

Email us at rothschildreserves@wildlifetrusts.org or call 01636 670063 (Adam Cormack).

Further reading

Wildlife in Trust book by Tim Sands

Wildlife in Trust: A Hundred Years of Nature Conservation

In 2012, to celebrate 100 years since the pivotal meeting that announced the creation of the SPNR, author Tim Sands created a stunning biography of the organisation. The book explores three sections: a history of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts; individual chapters on the history of each of the (then) 47 Wildlife Trusts in their own words plus a comprehensive A-Z reference section. It features more than 300 photographs and maps - with many from The Wildlife Trusts’ archives.

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Prophet and Loss book cover

Prophet and Loss: Time and the Rothschild List

In Prophet and Loss Simon Barnes explores the Rothschild List today. He travels to wild places in Scotland, England and Wales - from seabird islands to the fens. He also examines Charles Rothschild the man and reflects on the story of nature conservation and the fight to protect our last wild places. Profits from sales go to The Wildlife Trusts.

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