Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve has made the top 10 in The Wildlife Trusts’ new guide to the best places to see birds of prey in the UK. Winter is a fantastic time of year to spot raptors soaring among the clouds or hedgehopping as they chase prey, and Lorton Meadows is also home to breeding kestrels, barn owls, buzzards and more.
A special site for raptors
Catherine Mason, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Community Conservation Office said “The grassland at Lorton Meadows is carefully managed to encourage small mammals such as voles and mice. These form the main source of food for a variety of raptors, so the reserve acts as a well-stocked larder, supporting a range of birds of prey from kestrels to barn owls.”
Lorton Meadows has hosted Dorset Wildlife Trust’s infamous “raptorcams” over the last few years, and resident breeding barn owls Bob and Brenda have become a firm favourite. This special nature reserve near Weymouth is also home to breeding kestrels and tawny owls, with buzzards and sparrowhawks regularly sighted swooping over the meadows. Peregrine falcons, marsh harriers and short-eared owls have also been spotted at Lorton Meadows, giving visitors a huge variety of raptors to spot in one place.
Spot them for yourself
Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Lorton Meadows nature reserve regularly hosts family activity days which allow volunteers and visitors a fantastic chance to spy one of these birds of prey in the wild with their own eyes. These events are made available to everyone by Wild About Weymouth and Portland, a partnership between Dorset Wildlife Trust, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dorset Countryside and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, to encourage people to discover, enjoy and help conserve the borough’s wonderful natural environment.
For the UK’s top places to see raptors, see the new guide at the website.
The next Lorton Meadows family activity event is a Christmas Craft day on Saturday 10th December, 10.30am till 12.30pm. The event will take place at Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve, Lorton Lane, Upwey, Weymouth, DT3 5QH. There is a £3 charge for each child attending, no unaccompanied children are permitted, and please wear old clothing. Booking is essential, please call Samantha Dallimore on 01305 816546 to book a place and for more information.
Notes to Editor
1. For more information please contact Samantha Dallimore at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 816546.
Wild About Weymouth and Portland is a partnership project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund through Natural England’s Access to Nature programme, involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dorset Countryside (DCC) and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. The project aims to improve access in and between important wildlife sites in the borough and encourage local people and visitors to discover, enjoy and help conserve the wonderful natural environment of Weymouth and Portland.
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Additional funding has been provided by Portland Gas Trust and the AONB.
2. Access to Nature is run by Natural England and is part of the The Big Lottery Fund’s
3. Natural England manages this £28.75 million Lottery-funded programme on behalf
Changing Spaces programme launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and
improve their local environments.
of a consortium of twelve national environmental organisations comprising BTCV,
British Waterways, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Greenspace,
Groundwork UK, Land Restoration Trust, The National Trust, Natural England,
RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and the Woodland Trust.
4. Through this programme, it is Natural England’s ambition to create opportunities
5. Access to Nature closed to applications in May 2010 but for further information
for people from all backgrounds to have greater access to our natural environment
and bring a lasting change to their awareness and understanding as well as
improved links to the natural world, which many of us can take for granted.
about the programme visit www.naturalengland.org.uk/accesstonature
6. The Big Lottery Fund is the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.For further information about the Big Lottery Fund, its programmes and awards visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Barn owl by Wildstock
Kestrel by Steve Davis
Tawny Owl by Steve Davis