Management of the NNR

Purbeck Heaths Credit: Middlebere Heath, Jon Bish

A super-NNR

National Nature Reserves are traditionally the ‘jewels in the crown’: the most nature-rich sites in the UK that are managed for nature conservation, public access and scientific research. The new national NNR strategy (adopted in 2017) emphasises the need for them to be high-nature hubs at the heart of landscape-scale visions for nature recovery.

It paves the way for landscape-scale ‘super’ NNRs that work across a wider geography and multiple landowners, encompassing high-nature sites but also areas of land that are not necessarily in an optimal ecological condition, but which play an important role in the wider conservation management of the landscape. The Purbeck heaths have become a flagship area for this approach.

Purbeck Heaths Credit: Middlebere Heath, Jon Bish

Facts and figures

Purbeck Heaths NNR is the largest lowland terrestrial NNR in Britain.

Total area is over 3300 ha, broken down approximately as follows:

  • Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust – 107 ha
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust – 100 ha
  • National Trust – 1375 ha
  • Natural England – 250 ha
  • RSPB – 834 ha
  • Rempstone Estate Trust – 187 ha
  • Forestry England – 561 ha
Purbeck Heaths Credit: