The Great Heath Living Landscape

Successful fundraising campaign

We are very thankful to our many generous supporters for their donations and tremendous fundraising efforts. We raised £2.0 million through partners and fundraising by the end of March 2014 and secured £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, following their funding of the development phase last summer. The £4.7 million raised is the total needed to purchase the Canford Estate sites and to kick start the Great Heath project. Longer term, some aspects of the project will need further funding.  Read the latest news in The Urban Warbler

From Urban Wildlink to The Great Heath

Urban Wildlink has led to the formation of one of the country’s most exciting and ambitious partnership projects; to develop an urban ‘living landscape’ across south-east Dorset.

During a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) funded development phase, hundreds of people provided views and advice, at public events or via an online survey and the response was staggeringly positive and informed the project proposals.

Through consultation, the Living Landscape has been given a name - ‘The Great Heath', reflecting the joint human and natural history of the area

What is The Great Heath Living Landscape about?

The Great Heath is a historical name for the vast heath that used to stretch from Purbeck to the New Forest.  Today the picture is rather different, with much of the heath having disappeared through building of houses, businesses and roads, agricultural changes and planting of forests. 

The remnants of this landscape with its scattered heaths, grasslands, woodlands, rivers, ponds, harbours and other urban greenspaces and gardens still make up an amazing wildlife resource, with significant areas of national and international importance.  The area has been described by Natural England as one of the most important areas for wildlife in the country.  Find out more:

The aim is to link people and wildlife across the area, creating a landscape rich in wildlife and highly valued, enjoyed and cared for by people.

What will The Great Heath project do?

  • Purchase land to secure nature reserves for wildlife and people.

We have completed our first step by buying 1435 acres of very important land from the historic Canford Estate. This includes part of Upton Heath that DWT already leased from the Estate and which many DWT members and local people actively supported after it was badly damaged by fire in 2011.

Other sites are Ferndown Common, some woodland, pasture and heath at Corfe Mullen, Dunyeats Hill, Parley Common and in Poole Harbour, Holes Bay and part of Lytchett Bay. Within this are some sites of local and amenity value, which will be opened-up for community use to reduce pressure on our highly sensitive urban heaths.

> The Great Heath sites

  • Improve connections and access to the countryside

Our aim is to create a network of connected sites with high quality access and interpretation linking and improving trails, including the Castleman Trailway and Stour Valley Way.

  • Provide new opportunities

We want to provide a range of new opportunities for everyone to enjoy and learn about our local wildlife and play a part in its conservation.

What is the money needed for?

  • Land purchase
  • Habitat restoration and management
  • High quality access and interpretation for sites and trails
  • Educational and interpretation materials
  • Public engagement initiatives
  • Match funding for the Heritage Lottery Fund grant application

How you can help

Please support the ongoing project costs with a gift of any size, either by donating online (just click the donate button below) or by texting LINK14 followed by the amount to 70070



Click on the map above to enlarge, or see an even larger copy here.

Birdwatching at Upton

Birdwatch at Upton Heath by Nicky Hoar

Lytchett Bay

Lytchett Bay by Nicky Hoar

The Great Heath Partnership

Is a consortium of conservation organisations, local authorities, local businesses and land owners, led by DWT, that have come together to make The Great Heath Living Landscaspe a reality. These include the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council and Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust.

Find out more at our how to support us page.



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