Sixty years a Local Nature Reserve

Wednesday 1st August 2012

Gibraltar Point - Barrie WilkinsonGibraltar Point - Barrie Wilkinson

Sixty years ago today, on 1 August 1952, Gibraltar Point became the first Local Nature Reserve in England to be declared by a Local Authority under the 1949 National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act.

The designation recognised the special significance of Gibraltar Point as a new type of nature reserve and of the successful partnership between the former Lindsey County Council and the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Gibraltar Point on the Lincolnshire coast had long been recognised as an important place for wildlife. In 1915 it was included in the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves list of wildlife sites that were “worthy of preservation” and in 1948, was first named a nature reserve in a landmark agreement between the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and County Council. But the statutory designation of 1952 gave it official national recognition.

Ted Smith, one of the founding members of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: "At that time the popular concept of the nature reserve was of a place with a fence round it to keep people out. Gibraltar Point was different. The first priority was to protect its nationally and internationally important wildlife and natural features, but it would also be open to the public for the quiet enjoyment of nature and used for education and research.

"By 1952 the Gibraltar Point reserve was flourishing and was widely regarded nationally as a model of its kind. Schools and universities were using it for teaching and research and the number of visitors was already in the tens of thousands. It was a fitting recognition of its success that in August 1952 it became the first Local Nature Reserve in England."

Today, Gibraltar Point remains a flagship nature reserve of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust. It is a fantastic place to visit at any time of year and the events programme helps visitors experience some of the wildlife highlights such as:

  • Returning arctic waders such as knot, dunlin, sanderling, grey plover, bar-tailed godwit and oystercatcher build up significantly and thousands will come to roost on the outer ridges of the reserve on the highest tides.
  • Offshore feeding flocks of terns, gannets and gulls attract arctic skuas; and at low tide common seals and their pups are at peak numbers on the offshore sand bars.
  • The saltmarsh is transformed by the flowering sea lavender, whilst on the sand dunes, ladies bedstraw creates carpets of yellow flowers. The flowers make it a great month for insects with bees, hoverflies and butterflies in profusion on calm sunny days and perhaps a migrant or two such as the painted lady nectaring on the sea lavender.




Tagged with: Centenary & anniversaries, Gibraltar Point