PART of Upton Heath, land at Ferndown and Parley Commons, woodland and heath in Corfe Mullen and Poole and shoreline and harbour at Holes and Lytchett Bays is to be purchased for a major environmental project.
Dorset Wildlife Trust and its partners are celebrating a funding boost of £85,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to create Dorset's first urban Living Landscape. Inspired by a once in a lifetime opportunity to save some of the most threatened wild landscapes in Dorset, conservationists and the community are joining forces to launch Wildlink, linking people and wildlife across the whole east Dorset conurbation.
Wildlink is a major Living Landscape project around the urban areas of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, involving conservation organisations, local authorities, private landowners and the local community. The kickstart to Wildlink will be the purchase of 1435 acres of land currently for sale by the Canford Estate. Dorset Wildlife Trust has formed a consortium of partners to purchase the land, which encompasses internationally important heathland, saltmarsh and reedbeds, ancient woodland and important grassland, with the intention of improving access for people as well as ensuring protection of its outstanding wildlife. The Wildlink Project aims to build on this to promote the management of a much wider linking area between the New Forest National Park and the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area, a haven for people to enjoy and get close to wildlife.
The Wildlink consortium has a year to raise enough money to secure the purchase. The consortium partners have already contributed a seven figure sum and a major local and national appeal will be launched in the spring to raise the remaining £500,000, as well as a second stage funding bid to HLF. Partners in the Wildlink consortium include Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.