UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the UK

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are all about improving the relationship between people and their local environment, globally. The sites form part of the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme that finds creative ways for people and nature to thrive together.

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves act as extraordinary testing grounds to put into practice a revolutionary approach to managing our ecosystems sustainably for future generations. Scroll down to explore the UK network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.


Scroll down for details of each UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the UK or click on the image above to go an interactive map.

Explore the UK’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Biosffer Dyfi

The area around the river Dyfi in Wales is a special place for its people, its culture and the local environment. It hosts some of the finest and most inspiring landscapes and wildlife areas in Europe, as well as a passionate community that care strongly about their magnificent surroundings.

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Brighton and Lewes Downs

(The Living Coast)

Situated on the chalk hills and coast of the South Downs within and around the city of Brighton & Hove and neighbouring towns of Lewes, Newhaven and Shoreham, this biosphere reserve brings together rural, marine and urban environments to take care of this special place for both nature and people. A diverse range of projects to add value are being progressed, from urban greening and water environment improvements through to public engagement, cultural collaboration, public health and tourism initiatives.

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Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere

Covering 9,720 square kilometres, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere was granted its status in recognition of the special natural qualities that characterise the area. It is home to more than 95,000 people who work together to improve life whilst caring for the natural environment. Galloway and Southern Ayrshire hosts some of the finest examples of wildlife areas in Europe.

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Biosphere Isle of Man

On this self-governing island in the Irish Sea, traditional industries such as fishing and farming and a rich cultural heritage and vintage transport network co-exist with tourism, leisure activities and a thriving business and manufacturing sector. The Island boasts spectacular beaches and cliffs and beautiful glens and forests and is an important haven for nature and marine and bird life.

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Isle of Wight

Situated just off the coast of Portsmouth within the English Channel, the Isle of Wight is the largest island in England, and like most islands, it benefits from a unique climate – a little milder than on the mainland. In 2019, the Isle of Wight became a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, enshrining the decades of work in the preservation of its unique and diverse ecosystems, and celebrating the local endeavours to live harmoniously within them.

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North Devon Biosphere

Reaching to the heights of Dartmoor and Exmoor and extending to the marine environment twelve miles beyond the island of Lundy. North Devon is home to one of the best dune systems in the northern hemisphere, rare species, a strong maritime heritage, and thriving cultural communities.

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Wester Ross Biosphere

Castles, history, fairy glens, mountains, beaches and some of the UK’s most scenic and least-populated areas. The Wester Ross Biosphere extends from the northern tip of Knoydart northwards to Achiltbuie and the Summer Isles and east to Garve, including population centres in Kyle of Lochalsh, Lochcarron, Gairloch and Ullapool.

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Become a UK UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

find out how here