What’s special and valuable about Christchurch’s natural environment?
Only fragments of open heathland remain within the constituency, but they are among the finest in the country. They provide home for rare birds, reptiles, plants and insects, such as the Dartford warbler, sand lizard and marsh gentian.
The internationally important River Avon, the Stour and the Moors River provide rich habitats for birds, otters and dragonflies. They drain to the low-lying grazing marshes, reedbeds and saltings of Christchurch Harbour, which are rich in birdlife throughout the year with, for example,the rare Cetti’s warbler and bearded tit, as well as more common wintering birds such as shelduck.
At sea, the ‘Christchurch Ledge’ is a major rocky feature dividing Poole and Christchurch Bays. The ledge shelters a wide range of marine species, which in turn support recreational angling and a thriving inshore fishery. The most easterly pink sea fans live on nearby Southbourne Rough.
Protecting and restoring nature in Christchurch
Healthy natural rivers: Rivers and streams can be fantastic natural corridors, but Dorset’s river systems can suffer from poor water quality which can be caused, for example, by agricultural and urban run-off. The presence of non native invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam can also upset the natural balance. Improving rivers for wildlife, creating wetland habitats and protecting floodplains, and ensuring environmentally sensitive farming in catchments, will not only be good for nature, but can reduce our water bills too.
Heathland: The Great Heath project, which was established in 2013 (funded by the HLF), aims to link people and wildlife across the area, creating a landscape rich in wildlife and highly valued, enjoyed and cared for by people. This project has seen the purchase of land, creation of nature parks and collaborative working with other organisations to start the process of linking wild spaces for the benefit of wildlife. The main funding of this project is coming to an end, so we need to make sure this work continues to be a priority in this area
What you can do
Please share the below questions with your local candidates, through social media, email or face to face, and ask other people who care about nature in your constituency, to do the same. This will give you a basis for keeping the natural environment on their agenda and let them know how important it is to you.
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