At Natural England our aim is to sustain and improve the wildlife and natural features of England for everyone. Wildlife does not occur only within designated and protected sites, such as nature reserves or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). It occurs throughout the countryside, coast and built-up areas of England.
We have examined how each part of England is distinctive, and identified its characteristic wildlife and natural features. From this information, and after a wide range of local consultation, we defined a comprehensive series of Natural Areas, each with nature conservation goals. We have provided profiles for each of our 120 Natural Areas, which describe the wildlife and natural features of each. Whilst these describe England’s wildlife they are not designated areas.
The boundaries of Natural Areas are based on the distribution of wildlife and natural features. They are consequently usually not precise boundaries, rather they are often broad zones of transition. Nor do they match local authority boundaries. Instead, by following nature’s own boundaries, they offer a better way of planning nature conservation action and can help guide an ecosystem approach.
The boundary data for Natural Areas can be downloaded from our GIS digital boundary dataset
We have defined a series of Marine Natural Areas, which are areas of sea around England each with its distinctive wildlife and underlying geology.