3. Local sites
These sites do not have legal protection, but there are national and district planning policies seeking to protect them from development. There are no public access rights to these sites, although most Local Nature Reserves are open to the public.
County Wildlife Site (CWS)
A wood, field, pond etc. can be made a County Wildlife Site if it has a rich, unspoilt habitat or rare species. They represent the best wildlife in the county and may even be of regional importance. We have 160 CWSs covering over 1,500 hectares in total. There are published guidelines on the selection of CWSs and they are administered by the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC).
This is woodland which has existed since the year 1600 or earlier. Many ancient woodlands are much older than this, dating right back to the end of ice-age. Such woods are particularly valuable for wildlife often supporting a large number of uncommon species. We have areas of Ancient Woodland covering hundreds of hectares (only those over 2ha have been mapped).
Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS)
The geological equivalent of a County Wildlife Site. These may represent good examples of rock formations or landform features or they may contain interesting fossils. They tend to be quite small. We have 23 RIGS covering about 30hectares in total. They are identified by the Regionally Important Geological Sites Group.
Local Nature Reserve (LNR)
These are for people as well as wildlife/geology. They give people special opportunities to study and learn about biodiversity or simply enjoy and have contact with nature. They are designated by local authorities with support from Natural England. LNRs have less legal protection than other statutory sites, but are all owned and managed by wildlife-friendly organisations.
The LNRs in Teignbridge are: Aller Brook, Churchills, Coombe Valley, Decoy, Hackney Marshes and Jetty Marsh (Teignbridge District Council LNRs), Bovey Heathfield (a Devon Wildlife Trust reserve), Stover Country Park (Devon County Council) and Dawlish Warren Golf Course (enjoyed by golfers but not open to the general public).