Springwatch comes to Purbeck!

Springwatch is here! From Monday 29th May 2023, Springwatch will be shining a light on the wonderful wildlife of the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve from their base at RSPB Arne.

Springwatch 2023 presenters Chris and Megan at Arne (c) Helen Moffat

We are delighted to see the BBC Springwatch team in Dorset, exploring and celebrating the amazing wildlife in Purbeck. Based at RSPB Arne on the edge of Poole Harbour, the Springwatch team will be investigating the rich mosaic of lowland wet and dry heath, valley mires, acid grassland and woodland, along with coastal sand dunes, lakes and saltmarsh.

One of the most biodiverse places in the UK, Purbeck is home to thousands of species of wildlife, including 450 that are listed as rare, threatened or protected.

Coombe Heath (c) Michael Brown

Working together for wildlife

One of the themes of this 3-week series is collaboration – with particular reference to the many organisations working together to create the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve. Created in 2020, this was the first landscape-scale ‘super’ National Nature Reserve (NNR), breaking new ground in bringing people together and managing land across borders.

The Dorset AONB team are very proud of their role in convening this joint working, as AONB Manager Tom Munro explains:

“RSPB Arne is a wonderful place to start an exploration of the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve and its wilder grazing unit. This amazingly wild landscape is the product of conservation organisations working in partnership for over 20 years.

From 2012 that has been led by the Dorset AONB team, gaining the larger Wild Purbeck area recognition and funding support as a Nature Improvement Area. This partnership then enabled the Purbeck Heaths NNR declaration and gained funding support for the infrastructure necessary for the grazing unit”.

The organisations involved in the partnership include National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, Forestry England, Rempstone Estate, Dorset Wildlife Trust and Amphibian & Reptile Conservation.

Mangolitza pig (c) Terry Bagley / National Trust

Pigs and ponies grazing Purbeck

Innovative and joint thinking is the key to the successful management of Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve. The Dorset AONB team have brought together the key partners to establish large tracts of ‘wilder grazing’ land by pigs, ponies and cattle.

Exploring the Purbeck Heaths NNR

With so much wildlife here, it’s no surprise that all our partners are taking steps to encourage visitors to take care when they visit this special place.

The Purbeck Heaths website shows all the opportunities to walk, train and bus your way round. As well as being better for the environment, it’s a great way to slow down and see more of the wildlife around you!

Springwatch also provide an alternative way of accessing the Purbeck countryside by setting up Multiview live camera streams which give you the unique coverage of 4 bird nests including Oystercatcher and Buzzard.

  • Find out more about visiting the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve on the Purbeck Heaths website and also on our Explore page and map
  • All summer you can travel to Arne via shuttlebus from Wareham railway/bus station and Purbeck Park (Norden) near Corfe. Download a leaflet here
  • Find out more about Springwatch on the BBC website