Cheshire has a rich landscape and diverse range of habitats that are valuable to a wide range of wildlife. In particular, our numerous waterbodies create interesting habitats for rare birds, amphibians, insects and mammals.
In 2000, there were over 8,500 hectares of woodland, accounting for around 4% of the total area of Cheshire. Woodland cover is being increased, by around 40 hectares per annum of new planting through initiatives such as the Forestry Commission Woodland Grant Scheme and Mersey Forest. We have a greater length of hedgerow than any other county, which contribute to the distinctive field patterns and small field sizes typical of Cheshire.
Cheshire contains 62 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and 615 Sites of Biological importance (SBI). There are 3 Special Protection Areas for birds, 2 National and 9 Local Nature Reserves and 29 Wildlife Trust Sites. The area of land protected by designation as a Local Nature Reserve has increased from 36 hectares in 1992 to 306 hectares in 2002.
There are currently over 70 species and habitats identified as under threat through the Biodiversity Action Plan programme. These include the Otter, Watervole, Bluebell, Black Poplar, Song Thrush, Adder and Silver Studded Blue Butterfly.