Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI)

SNCI's are known nationally as Local Wildlife Sites. 

Valuable wildlife areas exist in many parts of Dorset outside of the protected Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.  These pockets of undisturbed habitat, which are often found on farms and private land, form a valuable reservoir of wildlife which can provide important links to the larger but often fragmented SSSIs.

The SNCI Project identifies these important sites as 'Sites of Nature Conservation Interest', collects data about the plants and animals surviving there and helps to protect them in a number of ways:

  • We inform the landowners about the important species and habitats on their sites, and encourage them to manage them for their particular wildlife interest by providing them with a Management Statement for each site.  Click here for an example Management Statement for Scoles Lane Copse, belonging to Scoles Manor.
  • We help owners to obtain grant aid for such environment-friendly land management by putting them in touch with the grant agencies and helping them to fill in the forms.
  • We organise occasional workshops and practical demonstrations on ways in which landowners and managers can incorporate measures to encourage wildlife into their farming activities.
  • We produce an annual newsletter (“The Green Linnet”) which provides answers to particular management problems and gives information on various species and habitats, and useful contacts for other organisations.
  • We provide information to the local authorities so that they can take account of the wildlife importance of these sites in forward planning documents, and when considering planning applications for developments.
  • Finally we use the information for campaigning and lobbying at local and national level for changes to farming practices and subsidies away from the 'agri-business' ethic towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly system which will help to maintain the biodiversity of the county.

It is important to keep the information we hold on the wildlife interest of these sites as relevant and up to date as possible. To do this, we undertake a rolling programme of monitoring surveys, with the landowners' permission. There are about 1290 SNCIs in the county and the aim is to resurvey grassland sites once every 5 years and woodland sites about once every 10 years,  A small number of new sites are also recognised each year.

Note: SNCI recognition confers no rights of access whatever on a site beyond existing Public Rights of Way.

Read the Green Linnet, our SNCI newsletter. Click on the image below to enlarge to full screen, or download a copy by clicking on the PDF link below.

Read the latest copy of the Green Linnet here.

Wildflowers in an SNCI

Wildflowers in an SNCI

Management problem

Management Problem scrub being tackled on a hillside in West Dorset

Liaison officer providing advice

Liaison Officer providing adviceNorthfield Hill SNCI

Downland SNCI

Can you help?

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