Here in North Devon we are lucky enough to have some of the most beautiful scenery and nature on our doorsteps. Included in this breathtaking area is the UNESCO Biosphere, covering the vast landscape from the red deer of Dartmoor to the coast and marine environment and everything in between while connecting people with nature.
The UNESCO North Devon Biosphere Reserve Partnership works to coordinate the management of the Biosphere Reserve, working alongside the North Devon Biosphere Foundation, which is the not-for-profit organization responsible for supporting the Reserve Partnership.
Together, the UNESCO Reserve Partnership and Foundation both share the same values while using scientific foundations, the community and their knowledge of the landscape and heritage to accomplish their goals. Empowering and educating people in order to build a positive future is one of their strong values, along with creating conditions for people and nature, not only to live, but thrive together. The Biosphere team also strives to explore and tackle global challenges to model a future they would like to see and create and maintain powerful connections, to each other and with nature, regardless of cultures and borders.
The team is also responsible for adding biodiversity to the South West Coastal Path, a walk known for its natural beauty.
UNESCO’s strong belief in creating and maintaining relationships doesn’t stop there. With the Biosphere being home to around 150,000 people, the community does play a huge part in how successful their work is. By introducing the Natural Capital Marketplace, connections between land owners, and new project opportunties will be strethened. These ties will also help to stimulate economic development, create jobs in the area and aid community wealth while also helping nature to recover.
The Biosphere Reserve includes 63 sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), all of which are protected. There are also 671 county wildlife sites. The reserve consists of 3 zones these include The Transition Zone, made up of rivers and streams that flow to the North Devon coastline and spreads as far as the sea beside Lundy Island. The second zone is The Buffer Zone, consisting of the Taw Torridge Estuary, including Bideford and Barnstaple. The final zone is called The Core Area and is made up of a sand dune system, this conservation site and SSSI is the hub of the Biosphere and is centered around Braunton Burrows.
Braunton Burrows is the largest sand dune system in England and is home to a variety of rare animals and plants. It is owned and maintained by the Christie Estate, through its Stewardship Program with Natural England. The site is packed with educational and scientific opportunities and one of the best resources in order to complete further research.
There are plenty of ways for you to explore the Biosphere, by bike on one or the cycle paths or perhaps by walking on the footpaths, there are even some audio guided trails available to expand your knowledge and get the best from your experience. You could even bring your dog with you to discover the best North Devon has to offer, there’s no better time to pay us a visit as not only are we dog friendly, but your furry friends stay free with us this Autumn and Winter.