Helping to protect local wildlife

Wildlife Sites are areas of land of recognised importance for wildlife, which fall outside the legal protection of the Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) system. 

We have identified over 1,500 such sites within Wiltshire and Swindon, with a total area of about 22,000 Hectares. Together with the county’s 28,000 Hectares of SSSI these form the core of a vital network of threatened habitats such as ancient woodlands, hay meadows, wetlands and chalk grasslands, providing space for many of the county’s declining animal and plant species. 

Wiltshire Council are now the main contacts for County Wildlife Sites but Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre hold the archives and records.

The Wildlife Sites Project

The Wildlife Sites Project has now ended. For more information relating to Local Wildlife Sites or County Wildlife Sites please contact the County Ecology Team at Wiltshire Council.

For nearly twenty years we developed working relationships with owners and managers of all Wildlife Sites, helping them to understand the value and importance of their sites. We encouraged and supported management practices that conserved and enhanced the value of these sites for wildlife, and offered advice and assistance in obtaining grant-aid for such management.

Sites were selected by the application of rigorous, science-based criteria which aimed to identify all the important areas for wildlife in the county. As well as providing high quality advice we returned to monitor each of them every few years. We also worked with other bodies, such as the Cotswold Water Park Trust and Marlborough Downs Nature Improvement Area as well as the Local Planning Authorities, to attempt to halt the decline in wildlife habitats and to enhance wild spaces in the wider countryside.

The project has amassed one of the largest datasets of habitat and species information in the county, and through Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre, contributes to national initiatives including the National Biodiversity Network.