(Above) Dorset Wildlife Trust recieves a warm welcome at Siemens Poole HQ.
A rare opportunity - Nature Reserve preservation through sponsorship
For the first time we’d like to invite you and your company to sponsor one of our Nature Reserves. What could be more amazing then to support the largest conservation charity in Dorset, by protecting our most important natural assets; our reserves. You’ll be instrumental in helping us rebuild Dorset’s biodiversity, and preserve sites which serve as habitat strongholds for wildlife to establish and flourish.
We’ve asked our experienced conservation team at Dorset Wildlife Trust to highlight the specific conservation needs for each of our flagship reserves, click on the reserve name to see some of the amazing reserves you could sponsor…
Fontmell Down - This is an internationally important chalk downland (designated as a SSSI and and SAC). Fontmell is great for butterflies, with 35 spp. being recorded, including the rare chalkhill and Adonis blues, plus the silver-spotted skipper, which in Dorset is only found on DWT's Fontmell Down. There is a fantastic array of wildflowers, with 10 spp. of orchid found during the course of the year.
Maintaining the grassland involves grazing (cattle and sheep), scrub control (with machines and by hand with volunteers), and removing of invasive weeds, such as ragwort and cotoneaster. Creation of open areas in the woodland, with some coppicing and mowing of rides, and the maintenance of the infrastructure (paths, public RoWs, gates & fences) add to the many tasks required here. There is a self-guided trail round a section of the reserve which also requires maintaining.
Powerstock – A wild hidden gem in west Dorset, consisting of a mosaic of wet and dry grassland, scrub, woodland and small copses, and ponds. As a result, rare and protected species such as dormouse, marsh fritillary, narrow-bordered bee hawkmoth, great-crested newt, lesser horseshoe and Bechstein’s bats are some of the special wildlife abounding here. It is a florally diverse site, with various orchids, devils-bit scabious, bluebells and rock-rose as a few examples. The land is grazed with DWT cattle from Kingcombe Farm.
Rotational cutting of scrub, coppicing, woodland thinning and ride maintenance (mowing and cutting back) form the basis of the habitat management, although infrastructure is also maintained (fences, public rights of way, marked trails). The old railway line which ran from Maiden Newton to Bridport also passes through the reserve, and is in the process of being updated into a route for cyclists, horse-riders and pedestrians.
Happy Bottom – A pocket of Dorset’s countryside packed full of habitats and wildlife. Wet and dry meadows, old hedgerows, ditches and woodland provide up close encounters with Woodpeckers, Tawny Owl, butterflies and insects.
Management Tasks include hedgelaying to prolongs the life of the hedge and offers improved habitat quality. Tractor topping to reduce competitiveness of dominant grasses allowing wildflowers to thrive. Cattle Grazing to control competitive grasses, open-up sward for invertebrates and control scrub. Apple tree pruning/ Orchard maintenance (trees due to be planted next month) to maintain the health of the trees and the meadow beneath which is brilliant for Harvest Mice. Fencing to enable grazing on the site.
Higher Hyde Heath – This stunning heathland site is one of the best places in the county to see reptiles, particularly Sand Lizard. The site is an internationally important heathland site, with wet, dry and humid heaths, a selection of peaty pools and ponds, mire and wet woodland.
Species of interest are all six native British reptiles, nightjar, Dartford warbler, woodlark, silver-studded blue (SSB) (one of the best places in the county), grayling, black bog ant, large marsh grasshopper, pale butterwort, early marsh orchid.
Management Tasks include Birch/Pine Pulling to prevent encroachment of woodland onto important open heathland. Pony Grazing to control competitive grasses, open-up sward for invertebrates (particularly SSB) and control scrub. Gorse coppicing to provides habitat for Dartford Warbler. Bracken Bruising to prevents bracken becoming dominant and smothering heather. Reptile Survey to monitor reptile populations on the site and inform management.
The sponsorship package will include the placement of your company logo on the reserve signage for 3 years, coverage on the Dorset Wildlife Trust website and exclusive guided walks for you and your staff. Contact Sally Cooper on 01305 264620 to register you interest.