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Countryside site designations

Important sites are often recognised by being given statutory protection.

There are a number of different site designations given for different reasons. These include:

  • Cranborne Chase AONB field of flowers Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

    An AONB is designated for its landscape and scenic beauty. This means that an AONB is not necessarily an area of high nature conservation value, but in practice it often includes many areas which are.

  • Durlston Country Park gets a Green Flag award from the Civic Trust Green Flag Award

    The Green Flag Award is the national standard for parks and green spaces in England and Wales.

  • Slop Bog pond dipping2 Local Nature Reserves

    Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are for both people and wildlife. They are places with wildlife or geological features that are of interest locally, which give people special opportunities to study and learn about them or simply enjoy and have contact with nature.

  • Castle Durlston Bay view National Nature Reserve

    National Nature Reserves (NNRs) are places where wildlife comes first.

  • Bog asphodel.Credit Andy Fale RAMSAR

    RAMSAR sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the RAMSAR Convention.

  • Ammonite Regionally Important Geological Sites

    Regionally Important Geological Sites (RIGS) are sites of regional and local importance for their geology that have not been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

  • Castle Hill Scheduled Ancient Monument

    A Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) is a protected archaeological site or historic building of national importance.

  • Woolland Hill Sites of Nature Conservation Interest

    Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) have regional or local conservation value.

  • Heathland at Avon Heath Country Park Sites of Special Scientific Interest

    Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) represent the UK's best sites for wildlife and geology.

  • Slop Bog pond dipping2 Special Areas of Conservation

    A European Commission directive in 1992 established a series of high quality Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) across Europe that would make a significant contribution to conserving habitats and species.

  • Baby birds wanting feeding feed me now Special Protection Areas

    Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are designated under the European Commission Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (1979).

  • Walkers at Durdle Door World Heritage Sites

    World Heritage Sites are places of 'outstanding universal value' selected by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

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