Local Wildlife Sites

Orchard LWSOrchard LWS (c) Steve Bloomfield

Local Wildlife Sites are the most important habitats in our landscape, outside statutory designated areas. They can include any type of semi-natural habitat or native plant and animal species.

Local Wildlife Sites in Worcestershire

"Local Wildlife Sites are important to future ecological networks, because they not only provide wildlife refuges in their own right but can act as stepping stones and corridors to link and protect nationally and internationally designated sites."

Professor Sir John Lawton - Making Space for Nature report to DEFRA September 2010

  • In Worcestershire Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) include grasslands, especially meadows, wetlands (swamps and marshes), lowland heathland, traditional orchards and open waters like pools, lakes and river systems. They can be of any size from the smallest roadside verge or hedgerow up to the scale of hundreds of hectares, such as a large woodland or the River Avon.
  • There are around 560 sites spread widely through the county. They cover a total area of 8686ha and together form a vital part of the network of wildlife rich habitats that underpin the Living Landscapes in which we all live.
  • LWS support populations of locally, and often nationally, threatened species and form wildlife refuges from which they can recolonise the wider landscape. Maintaining such areas enables the countryside to be more resilient to agricultural and development pressures, and helps buffer specialist species against future climatic changes.
  • LWS are selected against a set of locally and nationally recognised criteria. Worcestershire site selection criteria were developed by the Worcestershire Local Sites Partnership, which is a group of specialists and experts drawn from conservation bodies, local authorities and landowner representatives. This partnership gives the final approval to sites which are to be recognised as LWS.
  • Many LWS are privately owned and we work closely with landowners and managers to help them maintain their sites in the best condition for wildlife. All LWS owners can benefit from free advice on site management and can also take priority in land management grant schemes including Environmental Stewardship.
  • Identification of land as a LWS imposes no legal conditions on the owners as sites are non-statutory. Similarly it does not affect or change existing access rights.
  • LWS receive some limited protection through the planning system and are recognised as important features by Local Authorities.

Find out more about Local Wildlife SitesWildlife Site meadow (c) Michael Liley

You can find out more about Local Wildlife Sites nationally by visiting The Wildlife Trusts' LWS page.

For information about Local Wildlife Sites in Worcestershire please contact our local Wildlife Sites Officer Michael Liley

For more details on the management of grassland LWS you can also download our Grasslands and Local Wildlife Sites guide.

Local Wildlife Sites are an important part of the Bow Brook Project and the Trust's approach to Living Landscapes.