May 22, 2024 6:43 pm
Waterton Park becomes part of heritage list as world’s first nature reserve

Waterton Park, a nature reserve located near Wakefield, has been added to Historic England’s protected register of parks and gardens. Created by 19th Century naturalist Charles Waterton, this parkland is believed to be the world’s first nature reserve.

Charles Waterton implemented conservation efforts to protect wildlife in the area by banning shooting and fishing on the site, creating barriers to keep out predators, and allowing part of the lake to become swampy to benefit herons and waterfowl. His work resulted in thousands of wildfowl sheltering on the lake during the winter and the observation of 123 bird species in the park over the years. In addition to his conservation efforts, Charles Waterton planted new trees and undergrowth cover.

Sarah Charlesworth, listing team leader for Northern England, praised Waterton as a visionary who recognized the importance of protecting wildlife and the connection between nature and wellbeing. John Smith, chair of the Friends of Waterton’s Wall, hopes that the new protected status will bring more awareness to Waterton’s life and work on a national level. It is important to recognize Waterton’s pioneering efforts in creating a prototype for modern nature reserves where wildlife and humans can coexist harmoniously for mutual benefit.

Waterton Park features a three-mile-long boundary wall that has been given Grade II listed status. The park also allows people to connect with nature by encouraging visitors to explore its beauty while preserving its unique ecosystem.

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