Restoring Nature’s Networks
7.30 – 9.00 pm Wednesday 10th November.
We are looking to these presentations to be a springboard for our campaign to establish a “Gert Big Dorset hedgerow(s)” to span the county North to South and East to West. There will be an opportunity for questions after each of the speakers. The Zoom code for the meeting is:
Meeting ID: 831 5174 5426
Nicola Hopkins from the ‘Farming and Wildlife Group SW’:
FWAG was first established as a charity in the 1960s by a group of forward thinking farmers who saw that the environment was an important part of a successful farming business. Our purpose is to promote and enhance the conservation of wildlife, the environment and the landscape in relation to modern environmental needs. The team in Dorset works with farmers to deliver projects with a range of partners. We currently work with the Dorset Wildlife Trust on a project called Dorset Wild Rivers, the Dorset AONB on Farming in Protected Landscapes and the Environment Agency on the Stour Headwaters project as well as providing day to day support for our membership.”
David Westbrook of Natural England has Nature Recovery Networks as his remit:
Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. Our vision is of thriving nature for people and planet and we have a key role in delivering the 25 Year Environment Plan. Our everyday work in Dorset is very varied - from the Purbeck “super nature reserve”, through farmer and developer advice, to collecting and analysing environmental data - and is all about working with the widest range of partners to restore nature. We’re particularly keen to help Dorset to play its part creating the Nature Recovery Network - a national network of wildlife rich places to help tackle biodiversity loss, climate change and well-being.
Dorset Wildlife Trust has secured National Nature Reserve status for its nature reserves at Kingcombe Meadows and Powerstock Common. The two adjoining areas are known for their remarkable natural habitats and wide range of species. The combined NNR, encompassing 309 hectares of grassland, woodland and scrub habitat, includes two Sites of Special Scientific Interest and recognises these as nationally and internationally important landscapes.
Kingcombe Meadows were bought by the Wildlife Trust in 1987, having previously been a working farm managed solely using traditional techniques. The meadows are still run as an organic farm, grazed by sheep and cattle and managed without artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides. So, the farm teems with wildlife – dormice in the hedgerows, linnets and yellowhammers singing in the trees, unimproved grassland peppered with wildflowers such is bee orchid, lady’s mantle, pepper saxifrage, and devil’s bit scabious.
Powerstock Common has long been managed by the Wildlife Trust, starting in 1964 by agreement with the Forestry Commission. Over the decades, the Trust has removed large plantations of mixed conifers, returning these areas to grassland and wood pasture. This has increased the biodiversity and provided a range of habitats, with ‘edges’ where woodland, scrub and scattered trees meet the open grassland. This is particularly important for foraging bats, while a network of ponds within the grassland and scrub supports amphibians, with toads, frogs and all three species of native newt breeding on site.
Designation as a National Nature Reserve will bring recognition and the increased likelihood of research within the reserve in order to advance understanding of particular species, habitats and natural processes. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the Kingcombe Centre, and there is free public access on foot and horseback to Powerstock Common.
Read more (Dorset Wildlife Trust)
[Images on this page from Dorset Wildlife Trust and Dorset AONB]
Stour Valley Park
The Stour Valley Park Partnership is working to create an area of strategic greenspace and nature park stretching from Sturminster Marshall, Kingston Lacy and Wimborne Minster through to Christchurch and Hengistbury Head.
The Stour Valley’s location along the edge of the UK’s 9th largest conurbation (by population size), means the valley has great potential as a multifunctional landscape that can improve opportunities for recreation, health and well-being, as well as providing a multitude of benefits for wildlife and biodiversity.
The Stour Valley Park Partnership is keen to involve the local community to ensure that local expertise and concerns guide the project. The website offers a mailing list, a survey and online events to learn how to get involved and shape how this park may be governed to build a common wealth.
Two beavers have been released onto a Dorset Wildlife Trust enclosed trial site in west Dorset. Over the coming months and years conservation experts will study how these beavers can improve the landscape for both wildlife and people. Beavers are often referred to as ‘ecosystem engineers’, improving water flow, water quality and biodiversity, providing a natural solution to growing concerns about wildlife decline in Dorset and the UK nationally.
This is the first trial of its kind in Dorset and working with partners at Exeter University and Wessex Water, the Dorset Wildlife Trust looks forward to sharing the progress of this ground-breaking conservation project. See the DWT website for more on this.
PLANET PURBECK PRESENTS... BEAVER FEVER
Join Planet Purbeck at 19:00, 24 Feb to hear all about an exciting new project looking to reintroduce beavers to Purbeck. A team from the National Trust will explain how they are working towards a positive and carefully-managed phased return of the captivating water engineers here in Purbeck.
Beavers have been present in Devon since 2008. Mark Elliot, Beaver Project Lead at Devon Wildlife Trust will be sharing his first-hand experience of the initial challenges and overarching success of the Beaver reintroduction in the area.
Join them at 19:00, 24 Feb to hear all about an exciting new project looking to reintroduce beavers to Purbeck, 400 years after they were hunted to extinction in Britain.
Event details and joining information (on Facebook)
National Trust video on the reintroduction of Beavers to Purbeck