To mark the 70th anniversary of England’s first National Nature Reserve, people are being offered the opportunity to explore one of Yorkshire’s “jewels”.

In 1952, England’s first National Nature Reserve (NNR) was created when a small area of oak woodland in Devon was bought by The Nature Conservancy.

Among North Yorkshire’s eight NNRs is 274-hectare Skipwith Common, near Selby, which was designated in 2010. It is owned and managed by Escrick Park Estate, in partnership with Natural England and a team of dedicated volunteers, the Friends of Skipwith Common.

Now the public are being given an opportunity to enjoy free guided tours of the reserve as part of the Festival of National Nature Reserves.

Mark Hewitt, Escrick Park Estate’s conservation officer, said: “NNRs are known as ‘outdoor laboratories’ and can help us understand more about the importance of nature conservation, especially as we face the dual threat of climate change and a biodiversity crisis.

“Skipwith Common is an excellent example of how Estates such as Escrick can play a leading role in helping preserve and enhance our country’s natural assets for the benefit of both people and nature.”

Beilby Forbes Adam, of Escrick Park Estate said: “The Estate is committed to working independently, and with others, to care for the natural environment. We have been at the leading edge of research into biodiversity net gain, and are keen for people to learn more about the work we do protecting and promoting the countryside.

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We are taking practical steps to deliver the aims of the national 25-Year Environment Plan which include clean air and water, thriving plants and wildlife, tackling and adapting to climate change, and engagement with the environment.

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