Friday, 3 August 2012

Sixty years since Britain’s first local nature reserve was declared – Gibraltar Point

Sixty years a Local Nature Reserve
August 2012. Sixty years ago today, on 1 August 1952, Gibraltar Point became the first Local Nature Reserve in England to be declared by a Local Authority under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.
The designation recognised the special significance of Gibraltar Point as a new type of nature reserve and of the successful partnership between the former Lindsey County Council and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
Long recognised as an important wildlife site
Gibraltar Point on the Lincolnshire coast had long been recognised as an important place for wildlife. In 1915 it was included in the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves list of wildlife sites that were 'worthy of preservation' and in 1948, was first named a nature reserve in a landmark agreement between the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and County Council. But the statutory designation of 1952 gave it official national recognition.
Ted Smith, one of the founding members of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: "At that time the popular concept of the nature reserve was of a place with a fence round it to keep people out. Gibraltar Point was different. The first priority was to protect its nationally and internationally important wildlife and natural features, but it would also be open to the public for the quiet enjoyment of nature and used for education and research."
"By 1952 the Gibraltar Point reserve was flourishing and was widely regarded nationally as a model of its kind. Schools and universities were using it for teaching and research and the number of visitors was already in the tens of thousands. It was a fitting recognition of its success that in August 1952 it became the first Local Nature Reserve in England."
Today, Gibraltar Point remains a flagship nature reserve of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. It is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year and the events programme helps visitors experience some of the wildlife highlights.

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