North Devon Coast

National Landscape

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Biosphere Reserve

North Devon Biosphere logo

North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

Biospheres are designated by UNESCO to be sites of excellence for demonstrating sustainable development on a            bio-regional scale. They have 3 functions:

  • Conservation of ecosystems, habitats, species and genetic diversity
  • Development that is environmentally, economically and socially equitable
  • Knowledge management to promote learning and understanding to be an example for the local and international community.

Biospheres are structured with 3 zones:

  • Core Area: Braunton Burrows – a highly protected ecosystem of bioregional significance 
  • Buffer Zone: the AONB and Taw Torridge Estuary – an area where land/sea managementis sympathetic to the conservation of the objectives of the core area
  • Transition Area: the catchment areas of the Taw and Torridge rivers and the adjacent marine area including Lundy Island, taking in the whole of the North Devon and Torridge districts, and parts of Mid and West Devon districts and of Dartmoor and Exmoor National Parks – denoted by the extent of the ecosystems where sustainability will be a key aim of the community

 The interests of the Biosphere and the AONB have much in common ranging from biodiversity to cultural traditions. With a strong focus on catchment based and landscape scale approaches, Biospheres seeks adaptation to climate change through the optimisation of natural capital and the range of ecosystems services from the area. Both bodies are required to produce a Management Plan and these two documents work in tandem. The Biosphere Partnership’s Strategy is delivered through seven working groups on Catchment Partnerships & Agriculture, Marine, Woodland, Green Economy & Energy, Nature Improvement, Community & Communications and Research & Evidence. This provides a broad conservation, research and development framework for the AONB and its setting (See www.northdevonbiosphere.org.uk/).

North Devon Biosphere


Woods for Water

Marine Pioneer – North Devon 

Landscape Pioneer – North Devon

Nature Recovery Plan