Upton heath is one of Dorset Wildlife Trusts most celebrated reserves, home to all 6 British reptiles, including a rare black adder. Now part of the reserve is undergoing changes to ensure its wildlife gets the best possible habitat to thrive in.
How does grazing improve land for wildlife?
Dorset Wildlife Trust will be using ponies and hardy Shetland cattle to graze newly acquired land in the centre of Upton Heath, bringing it into good condition for the rare wildlife that relies on this special habitat. Fences will be erected around a small section to the north of the old railway line to keep the animals from straying, with gates provided for walkers and bridleway users. Nigel Brooks, Urban and East Warden at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Grazing heathland has been practiced for hundreds of years, and is the most natural and effective way of improving the land for wildlife. The cattle and ponies that we will be using are great at browsing through the scrub and grass that would otherwise take over the beautiful heathers and gorse that the wildlife here thrives on. They are also very domesticated and happy to be around people and dogs. The area’s access points are being maintained, and everyone is still welcome to enjoy this area of the reserve”.
Why is Upton Heath so special?
The Upton Heath Nature reserve is open all year round, and supports rare wildlife such as the Dartford warbler, nightjars, smooth snakes and sand lizards. Dartford warblers in particular suffered badly during last winter’s severe weather and Upton Heath is extremely important for the small British population, as its south-facing position close to Poole Harbour protects it from the heavier snow experienced on other heaths.
How can I get more involved?
On Friday 1st July at 9pm, there will be a field trip to Upton Heath to look for nightjars, bats and to explore this reserve after hours. Meet at the end of Beacon Road off Pinesprings Road, Creekmoor, Poole.
For more information, please contact Nigel Brooks or Andy Fale on 01202 692033
Notes to Editor
For more information please Andy Fale or Nigel Brooks at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01202 692033.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) www.wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.
Small copper on heather- N BROOKS
Shetlands and donkey on Upton Heath- N BROOKS