County Wildlife Sites (CWSs) or Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs) as they are also known are areas of land that are rich in wildlife.  They range in shape and size from small meadows, green lanes, ponds and hedges through to much larger areas of ancient woodlands, species rich grassland, heathland and commons. In Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire they are known as County Wildlife Sites (CWSs) whereas in Northamptonshire they are known as Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs).

Most CWSs/LWSs are privately-owned and are an essential part of creating a better connected landscape of wildlife habitats, one that includes buffers, corridors and stepping stones, so that the countryside becomes more resilient to the pressures of modern living and climate change.

Although not a statutory designation like Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), they complement the SSSI network and are increasingly recognised by the government and local authorities as a vital tool for maintaining biodiversity and monitoring the health of the natural environment.  

The long-term survival of these sites depends upon the interest and goodwill of their land managers and owners.  The Wildlife Trust, Local Authorities and others are working to protect and enhance such sites in co-operation with land owners and land managers.  

For more information please see:

Bedfordshire

Cambridgeshire

Northamptonshire