(Above) Upton Heath © Tony Bates, MBE.
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is asking for help from members of the public to ensure the continued protection of heathland and the wildlife habitats in it, by joining the ‘Heathwatch’ scheme.
Heathwatch was set up in consultation with Dorset Police, Dorset Fire and Rescue and the Urban Heaths partnership following the tragic fire on Upton Heath in 2011. The project asks the public who regularly access the heath to report incidents such as fires or antisocial behaviour.
Heathwatch is being extended to other Great Heath sites
Initially Heathwatch was limited to Upton Heath, but it is now being extended to other heathland sites in The Great Heath area. This includes Ferndown Common, Parley Common, Dunyeat’s Hill, Lytchett Bay, Corft Hills, Rushcombe Heath, Canford Heath, Alder Hills, Ham Common, Bourne Valley, Talbot Heath and Sopley Common.
This volunteer based project relies on the eyes and ears of local people
DWT’s Great Heath Conservation Officer, Sally Wright, said “This volunteer based project relies on the eyes and ears of local people who regularly use the heath. Part of The Great Heath project is to protect the newly acquired nationally and internationally important heathlands, which we do through conservation, interpretation, education and patrolling the heaths. Upton Heath has had huge success from the Heathwatch initiative, and now we want to spread this out to all The Great Heath sites.”
Volunteers will be fully trained...
People who sign up to the scheme are encouraged not to confront antisocial behaviour, but to report it either to DWT on 01202 692033 or if required, to Crimestoppers on 101 or 01202 222222. Wallet sized cards with this information will be provided. Volunteers will also receive an enews bulletin every month with general news from the heath and details about events.
Find out more about the project
To find out more about the project, there will be a Heathwatch information evening at Hamworthy Fire station on Saturday 18th July from 3pm-5pm. To reserve your place, contact Sally Wright on or phone 01202 692033. Find out more about heathland in the Poole area here.
Notes to Editor
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.