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Local green spaces

Natural Resources Wales is committed to working with others to improve the quality of the environment and encouraging all of us to enjoy the green spaces close to our homes

Green space

‘Green space’ is shorthand for both vegetated land - parks, community gardens, trees, woodlands and hedges, informal spaces, allotments and food growing sites - and areas of water, such as rivers, canals, lakes and ponds. The definition also includes the sea shore, maintained for the recreation and enjoyment of communities in our villages, towns and cities. ‘Green infrastructure’ describes the network created by all these spaces.

Every bit of green infrastructure provides multiple benefits and can also save us money by:

Green spaces in towns and cities

Even in a largely green and rural land like Wales, green spaces in towns and cities are the only way for many of us to experience the health and well-being benefits of the outdoors. Lack of time, money or transport may prevent us from travelling far from where we live or work to enjoy the outdoors. This means that the provision of quality, accessible, local green space is critical in improving our health as a nation.

Helping our partners

Natural Resources Wales’s work on local green spaces is about helping partners, such as local authorities, to plan for, provide and improve their green infrastructure. We do this in the following ways:

  • Our Green Space Toolkit helps local authorities plan and improve natural green spaces for people in towns and cities. The Toolkit’s Accessible Natural Green Space Standards enable local authorities to decide if there are enough of the right kind of green spaces, in the right places, to keep their citizens healthy
  • Natural Resources Wales’s map shows many local green spaces, such as Country Parks and Local Nature Reserves, and gives information on how accessible these places are for everyone, including families and less able visitors. The map also provides details on how to reach sites and access walks by public transport
  • We support the Green Flag Awards, which encourage the best possible management of local green spaces and independently assess how well these are being looked after
  • We support the Wales Biodiversity Partnership’s Urban Ecosystem Group, which aims to find and protect the most wildlife-rich green spaces in our towns and cities

Find out where your local nature reserves are

Many local authorities in Wales, in both urban and rural areas, have set up Local Nature Reserves (LNRs). There are a total of 62 throughout the country and they all have natural features that are of special interest to the local area. LNRs include abandoned quarries, redundant canals or disused railway sidings, as well as woodlands, wetlands, heathlands and coasts. They offer opportunities for conservation and education, quiet enjoyment and public appreciation of nature.

Protecting habitats and species

LNRs help protect habitats and species and help forge partnerships between local authorities, nature conservation organisations and local communities. They also raise awareness of local wildlife and are an ideal place for children to learn about nature.

What are the criteria for designation as an LNR?

  • By law, only a local authority can set up a Local Nature Reserve
  • The site must lie within that local authority area
  • The authority must either have a legal interest in the land or have reached an agreement with the owner for the land to be managed as a reserve

You should contact your local authority, or visit their website, to see where your nearest LNR is located. 

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