What has happened

Dorset has populations of white-claws surviving on just three rivers. One of these, the River Allen, had until recently remained free from crayfish plague. In July of this year, however, following an investigation by Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, crayfish plague was confirmed on the River Allen.

How you can help

Unless immediate action is taken to help our white-clawed crayfish, this priority species could be lost altogether from not only the River Allen but from all of Dorset’s rivers.

Please give today - We urgently need to raise £33,000 to enable us to carry out a new three-year wildlife conservation programme. 100% of your donation will be used for crayfish conservation and crayfish river restoration work in Dorset. 

You can also donate directly by texting: CLAW14 (£ donation amount) to 70070.

What we'll be able to do with your help

  • We will look to prevent further spread of non-native crayfish and the plague by remaining vigilant and urging river users to observe strict biosecurity procedures that help prevent the plague and non-native species from spreading.
  • We will step-up our surveys and ‘health checks’ of surviving populations, which are vital to show trends and to identify any threats. One of the most important tasks will be to check that a white-claw population is breeding successfully and we need to have a good knowledge of the distribution of all crayfish species and plague outbreaks.
  • Survey results can be used to prioritise habitat management and actions to help protect our native crayfish populations.  We will also work in partnership to identify possible safe, isolated sites away from the threat of any non-native crayfish, where at-risk populations of white-claws can be moved to.  These safe havens are known as Ark sites.
  • Our programme of habitat restoration, wildlife enhancements and river management improvements will strengthen surviving populations of white-claws and raise the quality of the River Allen and other Dorset rivers.  This conservation work will benefit not only crayfish but also other river wildlife, including priority ones such as the water vole and brown trout.

Your donation can make a real difference:

£10 - Buys a survey net
£25 - Equips a volunteer to work in the river
£50 - Delivers a talk to an angling group to promote the check, clean dry protocol
£150 - Enables a one day crayfish survey to monitor their health and population
£200 - Pays for a crayfish training day for volunteers, anglers and riparian owners
£300 - Install 2 pairs of submerged logs providing ideal habitats
£500 - Helps us produce updated publicity material about crayfish plague to distribute
£1000 - Enough to enhance 200m of the river habitat installing faggots or woody debris along the bank to provide hiding places for crayfish

Please give as much as you can afford. 100% of your donation will be used for crayfish conservation and crayfish river restoration work in Dorset.

A donation receipt will be sent to you by email once your donation has been processed.

If you'd prefer to donate using your mobile phone, just text: CLAW14 (£ donation amount) to 70070.

Thank you!


What I'm doing

On the 6th of October, after months of training, I will be running my first Marathon at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival.

Who I'm running for

I'm running in aid of Dorset Wildlife Trust.

What better place to raise money for Dorset's wildlife than running next to our fantastic Bournemouth and Poole Bay!

Please sponsor me

I'm training really hard at the moment and every bit helps! Thank you!

John Wright, who was Chairman of the Isle of Purbeck Group of Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), died in September 2014.  John loved wildlife.

He worked as a biologist at the River Lab on the Frome for many years. He led a group which developed a methodology for measuring river water quality that is used around the world.

John was a volunteer warden for our former Trigon nature reserve until the early 1990s when the reserve was handed back to the landowner.  John then chaired a ‘local reserve committee’ to care for Coombe Heath in 1993.  When LRCs gradually disbanded, John maintained an interest in Coombe Heath until the lease ended in 2013.

In retirement he did monthly surveys of species on a number of the Trusts’s reserves.  At one stage he was monitoring birds, plants, and insects on Higher Hyde, Winfrith, Tadnoll, Kilwood, and Stonehill.  What amazing dedication!.  John became a real fount of information on the local flora and fauna, and the value of his records will extend to future generations.

John often led walks in summer on the reserves which were enjoyed by many of us. And he also contributed items for the Trust’s website, as well as giving a number of talks for the DWT Langton meetings as well as for other clubs in the area which drew on his wide collection of pictures taken while out.

John was a true gentleman in the very best sense of the word. He was a meticulous person and enjoyed his recording activities.

And in his memory we are raising funds for DWT monitoring and recording projects.

P-BADGER DORSET LK ITV2000 Vimeo from ITV Westcountry on Vimeo.

Supporting The Great Heath

Thank you to our many generous supporters for your donations and tremendous fundraising efforts. We have so far raised £2.0 million through partners and fundraising and secured £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, enabling us to purchase the Canford Estate sites and to kick start the Great Heath project.  

Now we still need to raise further funds to complete the job we have started.  Every penny raised means more for conservation in The Great Heath, whether it is for equipment to do practical habitat management, resources for a public event or additional interpretation and signs to help people understand our fantastic natural heritage.

Thank you!



Despite first appearances, seahorses are fish. Like their relatives, the pipefish, they have jaws fused into a narrow tube and use bellow-like cheeks to suck in small prey. 

It is thought that seahorses first evolved their upright posture as an adaptation to living in seagrass meadows, taking advantage of the vertical stems for shelter and camouflage. 

Of the two species found in the UK, the spiny seahorse is the one most associated with seagrass and most likely to be found at Studland. 

Seahorses at Studland

Though seahorses are much in the news lately, they are not recent arrivals - local residents report finding seahorses at Studland decades ago.  The first confirmed evidence of seahorses breeding at Studland (a pregnant male spiny seahorse) came in 2004 - there have been many more sightings since, including a pregnant short-snouted seahorse. 

Anecdotally, there do seem to be more seahorses generally about over the last few years - there are certainly more reports.  At Studland, that could simply be a reflection of the increased amount of effort looking for them.

More Information

Click for more information about seahorses




Spiny Seahorse by Peter Tinsley

Spiny Seahorse by Peter Tinsley

Become a member before 31 October and receive a free owl ID guide

This month, DWT is celebrating the Tawny Owl as our chosen ‘Species of the month’.

To celebrate this fantastic bird, we’re including a free owl ID guide in our welcome pack, available to all new members who join before the end of the month:

All members receive our welcome pack, which also includes:

  • Our latest Dorset Wildlife magazine
  • Full guide to all 42 of our nature reserves
  • Events guide
  • Car sticker

PLUS... for Family Membership, children will also become Wildlife Watchers and receive:

  • Wildlife Watcher's handbook
  • Four issues of Wildlife Watch magazine a year
  • Wildlife stickers
  • Wildlife Watch badge
  • A2 size wildlife poster

*For up to 4 children

To find out about memberships for children (£17 pa), students (£21 pa) and life membership (from £550 pa), please call our Membership Team on 01305 264620.

Gift Aid : Increase your donation without spending a penny extra!

Tick the Gift Aid box below and for every £1 you give, Dorset Wildlife Trust can claim back an extra 25p from the Inland Revenue.

  • Please treat all qualifying gifts of money I have made to Dorset Wildlife Trust today, in the past 4 years and in the future from the date of this declaration as Gift Aid donations.
  • I confirm I have paid or will pay an amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax for each tax year (6 April to 5 April) that is at least equal to the amount of tax that all the charities or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) that I donate to will reclaim on my gifts for that tax year. I understand that other taxes such as VAT and Council Tax do not qualify. I understand the charity will reclaim 25p of tax on every £1 that I give.

If in the future your circumstances change and you no longer pay income tax or capital gains for your donations to be eligible for Gift Aid, you can cancel this declaration by notifying us.

Special membership pack

Special Membership Pack
with FREE Owl ID guide

Special Family Pack

Special Family Membership "Wildlife Watch"
Pack with FREE Owl ID Guide

DescriptionPriceAdd Gift Aid (please tick)Qty
Single Membership£36.00
Joint Membership£42.00
Family Membership*£48.00

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Become a member and help protect Dorset's wildlife!

Membership is our only stable source of income.  Join us today and help to ensure that Dorset's beautiful wild places can be enjoyed for generations to come.

All members receive our welcome pack, which includes:

  • Our latest Dorset Wildlife magazine
  • Full guide to all 42 of our nature reserves
  • Events guide
  • Car sticker


Click the button below to find out more...

Please Join Now


What are the benefits of membership?

  • 3 issues of our magazine, Dorset Wildlife, which will tell you about the county's wildlife, how we are working to protect it, and how you can get involved.
  • 3 issues each year of the national magazine of The Wildlife Trusts, Natural World, which covers wildlife conservation across the UK.
  • 3 issues of our events guide - packed with details of forthcoming events such as walks, talks, Wildlife Watch activities and volunteer work parties.
  • Free access to all DWT nature reserves and an annual membership card.
  • The opportunity to take part in wildlife events for members and to join your Local Group.

Other types of membership

To find out about memberships for children (£17 pa), students (£21 pa) and life membership (from £550 pa), please call our Membership Team on 01305 264620.

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