28 March 2009

English nature reserves

I have a request for those of you who visit UK nature reserves...

I'm making a web application - basically a map of England showing the location of all nature reserves. Rather than just having a marker pointing to a random location within the reserve I'm aiming to actually draw on their boundaries. The project will be helpful for developing my GIS skills and should be a useful output on a webpage in the future. In the past I've had a lot of trouble 1) finding individual nature reserves (particularly those without any sort of signs within the reserve itself) and 2) knowing when I'm within their boundaries.

There are a number of ways to determine their boundaries - existing maps and websites, books, emails to the organisations that run them or people who know them well etc. Some nature reserves even have signs showing aerial maps like the two below. These can be very detailed and accurate or just an outline. If anyone has any photos of signs like these I'd really appreciate them sending them to me. Also if you happen to visit any in the future (it doesn't have to be the near future) I'd appreciate you grabbing a photo.

Although I'd be interested in extending this in the future I am only currently planning to include actual nature reserves, rather than country parks or other regions of the countryside. I've no idea how many there are in the UK - in the south west there are 40 owned by Devon Wildlife Trust, 55 owned by Cornwall Wildlife Trust and a number of others owned by the National Trust, RSPB etc.

In addition to photos of signs if anyone can think of any nature reserves that I'm unlikely to know about - ones that are privately owned or not owned by one of the usual organisations I'd appreciate you telling me about them.

A big thank you to you all in advance for this (especially to my father who will no doubt end up rooting through folders and folders of photos).


Scriptor Senex said...

With my typical good timing I've just thrown out some odd leaflets with boundary maps on them! I should have a few photos though!

Helen Edwards said...

No worries! I'm drafting a letter to devon wildlife trust at the moment to see if they can send me maps of their reserves. Will start with Devon and a few other nature reserves that I've been to and see how it goes from there.

Interestingly, Cornwall Wildlife Trust has already done something similar - available on google maps. Technically the maps could be more accurate as they don't fit the google maps projection and look a bit odd, but they've gone much further than I plan to by mapping the different habitats at the reserves.

Ian said...

It interesting that the maps don't line up. Google define their own spherical mercator projection which is slightly different to the standard (WGS84). Many people struggle with this.

Can you post a link to the existing Cornwall page?

Helen Edwards said...

Hope this link works: