Introducing…Natural England

This year, in celebration of our Heritage and Nature theme we have been working with the lovely people at Natural England to create amazing events, highlight our National Nature Reserves and appreciate the great outdoors. 

© Natural England - The Alton Barnes white horse is situated on Pewsey Downs and can be viewed this Heritage Open Days.

Our Chat with Dagmar Junghanns...

Who are Natural England?

We're the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. We help to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide.  We’re responsible for: promoting nature conservation and protecting biodiversity, conserving and enhancing the landscape, promoting access to the countryside/open spaces and encouraging open-air recreation.

What are National Nature Reserves?

National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are England’s top nature reserves - the crown jewels of England’s natural heritage. They protect our most important and rare wildlife and geology, and they contain a wealth of archaeological and historic sites. Natural England declares NNRs, an accolade given to only 224 sites across the country. These very special places offer people unrivalled opportunities to get close to their heritage and enjoy wildlife first hand.

Why do you think festivals like Heritage Open Days (HODs) are important?

Because they invite people to explore and find new experiences.  HODs shines a light on the legacy our ancestors have left us, and whilst people tend to link heritage with buildings and ancient monuments, it is just as true for the natural environment in England.  We are delighted to join in with NNRs this year to celebrate the theme of  Heritage and Nature and we hope that HODs will help new audiences discover NNRs.

Some Natural England events...

From woodlands to hills to cottages, these amazing events highlight how Heritage and Nature can be seen everywhere. Two of our organisers can tell you all about their exciting events happening this Heritage Open Days. 

Wynch Bridge End Cottage, set in the Upper Teesdale NNR opens for you to explore the history of this area. Image credit to Emma King.

"One event, set in the Teesmouth NNR offers a chance to view a unique nature reserve with its heavy industrial backdrop and fascinating history. I am looking forward to helping people understand the landscape and appreciate the special wildlife and habitats that thrive here. At the other, Wynch Bridge End Cottage Open Day, in the Moor House- Upper Teesdale NNR I’m looking forward to engaging people in the history of the cottage and the special area that it sits within, giving a flavour of how people lived and used the landscape over the years." - Emma King

This week, explore rolling hills of Pewsey Downs and discover the landscape, wildlife and history of this area. Image credit to Ben Cooke.

"Pewsey Downs NNR is a nature reserve rich in often elusive wildlife and enigmatic archaeology. ‘Putting people at the heart of the environment’ is a guiding principle for our new conservation strategy and connecting people with our natural and built heritage has always been a passion of mine. We are keen for the local community to know about the NNR and have the opportunity to find out about the special features of the reserve. I am also eager to use this opportunity to highlight the vital work that Natural England does across England to protect and enhance our heritage." - Ben Cooke 

Find out more

Natural England

About Natural England

Natural England are the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England, helping to protect England’s nature and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide. Natural England is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

With contributions from: 

Dagmar Junghanns (Senior Advisor for National Nature Reserves in the South & South West) 
Albert Knott (Reserve Manager for East Dartmoor NNR) 
Emma King (Reserve Warden for Teesmouth NNR) 
Ben Cooke (North Wiltshire Reserve Warden)