Nature Reserves of London- 2nd Edition

When I first started watching wildlife in the capital nearly three years ago, I wondered which nature reserves I should visit, and thought there might be a map of them. It turns out there was, but only of those run by certain organisations. As my knowledge of the capital grew, I had the idea of creating the first complete map of nature reserves, a map which would help Londoners explore the capital’s often overlooked wild side, and help them explore designated and community-run sites near them. After about a year of using data from DEFRA, I eventually compiled a map of these sites, using an application called Google My Maps, and called it ‘Nature Reserves of London- 1st Edition’. This was up on my blog for about six months, but I thought the map was missing something. I soon discovered there was another very common type of site called a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), and these were designated by borough councils (these are the orange points on the map) and GiGL, the organisation which keeps record of these sites, informed me about some other designations such as Ramsar, Special Area of Conservation and National Nature Reserve. For the next eighteen months or so, I spent whatever time I could plotting over 1000 of these points, and recently, I’ve finally finished Nature Reserves of London- 2nd Edition. I hope the map will encourage Londoners and tourists alike to discover and enjoy a wild space local to them, and embrace the enormous area of woodlands, wetlands and parkland London had to offer.

Nature Reserves of London- a new way of exploring the capital

A guide to the sites:

NOTE: Yes, it's called 'Nature Reserves of London', but that's only because I decided to stick to the map's original name, instead of going for 'Wildlife Sites of London'. Only the sites which have 'nature reserve' in their name are nature reserves, e.g. LNR, NNR, Wildlife Trusts and Other Reserve. So in fact, the majority of the sites on the map are not actually nature reserves, but designated sites. 

Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC, orange): these are sites designated by borough council, with benefits for people and wildlife.

Local Nature Reserve (LNR, turquoise): sites designated by the Government, with benefits to the local community.

National Nature Reserve (NNR, khaki green): a nature reserve of national importance, with a variety of habitats.

Other Reserve (red): a nature reserve managed by a local organisation.

LWT/HMWT/EWT/KWT (black): a nature reserve managed and owned by the London, Herts and Middx, Essex or Kent Wildlife Trust respectively.

SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest, purple): an area of particularly unusual geological structure or habitat, of interest to scientists.

Ramsar (blue): sites designated by the Ramsar Convention, as a wetland habitat of international importance.

Special Protection Area (SPA): a site designated by the EU, with the aim of protecting resident and migratory birds.

Special Area of Conservation (SAC): also designated by the EU, these are sites which aim to promote conservation throughout Europe.

Some of my favourite places in London:

Spitalfields, the City, Hackney and Bethnal Green

Merton, Sutton and Croydon

The northern half of Hillingdon