Horse Riders on Parley Common © Sally Welbourn (above)
New access at Parley Common for the public
New public access has been developed at Parley Common* SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) in east Dorset to allow walkers, cyclists and horse riders better access to the heath, whilst still protecting the wildlife that lives there.
7km of improvement work to public routes completed
The site, which is managed by ARC, (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust) is part of The Great Heath project. Improvement work has been completed to 7km of the public routes. A new bridleway has been installed and new waymarking and vegetation clearance has allowed room for horses and cyclists to turn around without damaging precious habitat. All six** species of reptile can be found on Dorset heaths, including the UK’s rarest lizard, the sand lizard.
"Great example of a project where both wildlife and people can benefit"
The Great Heath Project Access Officer, Bev Lagden, said “DWT and our partners are so pleased that Parley Common now has an all year accessible bridleway. As part of the new access plan there will always be an alternative route for riders, walkers and cyclists to use in the summer when reptiles are basking and laying eggs and rare birds such as the Dartford Warbler are nesting on the ground, to ensure continued protection of their habitat. This is a great example of a project where both wildlife and people can benefit and we’d like to thank everyone who helped make it happen.”
"Surrounded by the beautiful heathland"
Local resident Stephanie Stanton, will be regularly using the new bridleway with her horse, ‘Bob’. She said, “Without bridleways like this I wouldn’t be able to ride my horse as the roads in Dorset are too busy and dangerous. Here, it’s safe, the other users are very respectful and I love being surrounded by the beautiful heathland.”
Thanks go to a range of volunteers from The Great Heath project partners and from the British Horse Society to allow this work to happen.
Further work is also planned for interpretation and information boards on the main entrances to the site to tell visitors what wildlife they might see on the heath.
Find out more...
Find out more about Parley Common and other Great Heath sites in east Dorset here:
Notes to Editor
*Parley Common was acquired through The Great Heath project land purchase by Amphibian Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) and TGH partners (see below for a list). East Dorset District Council own and manage part of the site along with Dorset County Council (DCC). Work was facilitated through DCC and ARC and the Great Heath Volunteers.
**Six species of reptiles include: Smooth Snake, Adder, Grass Snake, Common Lizard, Slow Worm and the Sand Lizard.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
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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.
The Great Heath Living Landscape an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset will deliver the following exciting objectives:
* To provide enhanced opportunities for visitors and local residents to enjoy and learn about the area's fantastic natural heritage * To improve physical access to local green space close to high density urban areas
* To develop relationships with local landowners in order to enhance conservation management of land in private ownership and to open up access to more greenspace in the area. * To provide increased involvement and volunteering opportunities for people in a variety of wildlife habitats on the urban margin
* To improve access to the marine environment on the fringes of Poole Harbour to improve its conservation value and increase public awareness and enjoyment
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.
The full Great Heath Living Landscape project will cost will be £4.7 million, we have already secured £2 million and have been awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.
The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Partners also include Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils and Natural England.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.