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Local Nature Reserves

Local Nature Reserves are designated to give people better opportunities to learn about and enjoy nature close to home.

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are areas of natural heritage that are at least locally important. There are 75 LNRs in Scotland, usually close to towns and cities. The most recent designation was in Orkney at Happy Valley in August 2017.

Selection and designation

Local authorities select and designate LNRs under Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (as amended).

An area to be designated must be:

  • at least of local importance in terms of its natural heritage
  • wholly within the area of the local authority planning to designate it a reserve
  • owned or leased by the local authority, or the owner(s) must formally agree to the designation

Local authorities may find our guidance on the process useful:

Read the Local Nature Reserves in Scotland: A Guide to their Selection and Declaration

Local authorities may publish LNR declarations and public notices on the Tell Me Scotland website.

Protection and management

A local authority is responsible for managing any LNRs in its area and will usually do so through its countryside ranger service.

It may also have a local management committee, comprising:

  • members of the local community
  • particular user/interest groups
  • Scottish Natural Heritage

Local authorities can make by-laws to regulate inappropriate behaviour within LNRs.

SNH has published an Evaluation on LNR management for site managers: SNH Commissioned Report 174.

Read the Local Nature Reserve Management Planning Guidance: The Process and the Plan

A Local Nature Reserve is a protected area of land designated by a local authority because of its special natural interest and/ or educational value and may include a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and/or a Natura site.

Find local nature reserves

Search for an LNR in Scotland on SiteLink:

  • by using the interactive map (coming soon)
  • by entering the site name or local authority