Kingcombe Meadows in Dorset has become the latest beauty spot to join the list of National Nature Reserves in England one day before National Meadows Day (3 July).
The 309-acre nature reserve is made up of Kingcombe Meadow and Powerstock Common, two of Dorset Wildlife Trust’s flagship schemes. Originally a derelict farm put up for auction in 1987, it made national news on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and the Daily Telegraph, kickstarting a public campaign to raise fund for Dorset Wildlife Trust to buy the land and preserve it as an functioning example of unimproved grassland.
Now, the landscape features marsh fritillary butterflies and wildflowers such as bee orchids, pepper saxifrage and devil’s-bit scabious. Woodland edges and scrub are perfect conditions for foraging bats while ponds supports toads, frogs and three species of native newts.
Announcing the NNR, Natural England chair Tony Juniper said:
The National Nature Reserves are the jewels in nature’s crown and adding one more, at Kingcombe in Dorset, is a cause for celebration.
These wonderful areas are not only of great importance individually, but also as part of the Nature Recovery Network that we and many partners are seeking to create across the country. In some ways these reserves are akin to a battery pack that is injecting wild energy into the landscape, helping wildlife to recover, as we connect up and recreate wildlife-rich habitats.
These wonderful natural areas are vital not only for the wide ranges of species of animals and plants that live in them, but also in creating opportunities for everyone to connect with nature and the health and wellbeing benefits that come with that.
The working organic farm at the heart of this beautiful place is a brilliant example of working in harmony with nature.
National Nature Reserves (NNRs) were established to protect some of our most important habitats, species and geology, and to provide ‘outdoor laboratories’ for research. NNRs offer great opportunities to the public, schools and specialist interest groups to experience wildlife first-hand and to learn more about nature conservation.
The designation of the Kingcombe NNR will take the total number of NNRs in England up to 225. Around one third of all species recorded in the UK can be found on NNRs.
National Meadows Day is an annual celebration of wildflower meadows across the UK. The event takes place on or around the first Saturday of July each year.