St Nicholas Fields LNR, a small but wildlife-rich reserve in the heart of York, offers an opportunity to connect people with nature in an urban environment. Sam Buckton describes the history of the site, its management and the variety of species found there, from fungi and slime moulds to invertebrates and birds.
There are currently around 1,680 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) in England and about 75 each in both Scotland and Wales, collectively covering more than 100,000ha. Owned by local authorities, but typically managed by an external conservation body (such as the Wildlife Trusts), LNRs comprise various habitats of significant importance at local scales. Often they are situated in urban areas, where the interface between humans and wildlife is at its most intimate.