Parley Common Nature Reserve
Parley Common Nature Reserve is a magnificent wild space and an internationally important example of European Lowland Heath where the smooth snake was first discovered in Britain. This is a unique habitat with very special and vulnerable wildlife.
Parley Common is a special area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area for birds and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Formed by nature and man living in harmony for thousands of years, it is home to some of the rarest wildlife in the country and its Bronze Age barrows bear witness to its long association with people.
Parley Common is east of Ferndown town and west of Bournemouth airport. The site can be accessed most easily near the Heatherlands Centre, Barns Road, to the north, Lone Pine Drive to the west or from the east side at Barrack Rd, which is off the B3073 near Parley Cross.
The nearest bus stop to the Heatherlands Centre is Bus No X6 Poole-Ferndown-Verwood-Ringwood-Bournemouth stopping at Ringwood Road, or No 38 Ringwood-Heatherlands Estate-Ferndown stopping at the Heatherlands Estate Lockyers Drive. Further bus information can be found at more bus.
The nearest Train Station is at Poole which is a short walk from Poole Bus Station. Further train information can be found at south west trains
Access is available by foot from Ferndown approx 1.6miles (via Wimborne Road) and from Parley Cross approx 2.7miles (via Golf Links Road). Explore this area with green travel via Castleman Trailway (approx 2.8miles away via Wimborne Road into Ferndown) or Stour Valley Way (approx 2.7 miles away at Parley Cross). Some areas/routes are restricted for cyclists, walkers can use the entire route. Please see information on the Castleman Trailway.
Access and safety
Parley Common is for you and for wildlife. You can explore this open access land as long as protected wildlife is not disturbed or harmed. Please cycle or horse ride only where allowed on the permitted routes and public bridleways to avoid harming wildlife and damaging the ground. Fire destroys heathland and its wildlife and can be dangerous for people and property so please avoid dropping cigarettes or matches and don't ever start a fire, bonfire or barbeque on the heath.
Species and habitats
Wet and dry lowland heath, broadleaved mixed woodland, ponds and stream.
Parley Common contains all six British species of reptiles. Birds include Dartford warbler, woodlark, nightjar, snipe, willow warbler, chief-chaff and cuckoo. Invertebrates include the silver-studded blue butterfly, heath grasshopper, speckled footman moth, damselflies, dragonflies and raft spiders. Purple heathers dominate the landscape and insect-eating sundews grow in the wet areas.
Enjoy the heath but please keep to the main path to avoid disturbing the many heathland birds, insects and reptiles that nest on the ground and can be easily harmed.
Other Great Heath sites
Nature Reserve map
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