Nature and Wildlife
Great access to nature on Wareham's doorstep!
Did you know that Purbeck is one of the most wildlife rich places in the UK and has gained further recognition with the declaration of the new Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve (NNR). Wareham provides great access on its doorstep to explore this rich variety of nature and wildlife. With fantastic options for walking, cycling, boat trips and hire, public transport, and private car.
Did you know Purbeck is ...
One of the most biodiverse areas in Britain with over 450 species that are rare, threatened or endangered
The only place in Britain where all 6 native reptiles are found.
The home of 65 special wild flowers, over half of which are officially rare or scarce.
Discover the rich variety of nature and wildlife attractions, activities and events in and around Wareham and Purbeck
Purbeck Heaths NNR
Dorset Wildlife Trust
Rivers & Water Meadows
Birds of Poole Harbour
Fun Ways to Explore
Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve
Declared in 2020, the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve brings together smaller Nature Reserves along with the surrounding landscape to make a bigger, better and more joined up area in Purbeck for wildlife and their habitats to thrive and for visitors to discover and enjoy.
The Purbeck Heaths spans over three thousand hectares across Purbeck including Studland, Corfe Castle, Arne, Church Knowle, and Steeple with Tyneham.
The land is owned by seven different landowners; The National Trust, RSPB, Rempstone Estate, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC), Forestry England and Natural England and is located within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The landscape of Purbeck Heaths landscape is a complex mixture of habitats including the UK’s largest and best quality low lying wet and dry heathland. There are also valley mires (swampy, boggy grounds), acid grasslands, coastal sand dunes and saltmarsh. Plus important areas of lowland deciduous woodland and wet woodland. Purbeck Heath also includes hundreds of hectares of mainly conifer plantations that are under restoration to heathland.
The Purbeck Heaths are home to tens of thousands of species including many that are rare and threatened. It is one of the very few landscapes in the UK that is home to all 6 native reptiles, a number of iconic heathland birds, raptors, wildfowl, rare native plants, bat species and is last UK strongholds of some important heathland insects and butterflies. Read more on the Purbeck Heaths Website.
Where to visit the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve...
Dorset Wildlife Trust
Dorset Wildlife Trust is a local conservation charity. Dedicated to making space for nature, their aim is to ensure Dorset’s wildlife and wild places can adapt, recover and play their part in tackling the global climate change and ecological crises through nature-based solutions.
With the support of 27,000 members and hundreds of volunteers, Dorset Wildlife Trust manages 40 nature reserves and four visitor centres across Dorset as well as working in partnership with other conservation charities, landowners, local councils, communities and businesses to improve the natural environment for the wildlife and people of Dorset.
Their nature reserves are home to many rare and common species of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates and also play a vital role as core nature-rich sites from which wildlife can spread across the landscape. The nature reserves are open to everyone, 365 days a year, and there’s plenty of evidence that spending time in nature is good for people’s health, wellbeing and happiness.
Dorset Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves near Wareham
Birds of Poole Harbour
Poole Harbour is a rich mosaic of different habitats which support a stunning variety of birdlife throughout the year. Whether it’s the 25,000 wetland birds seeking shelter during the winter months or the arrival of long-distance migrants from sub-saharan Africa for the summer, there’s plenty to see and learn about locally!
Looking for inspiration? Birds of Poole Harbour’s website hosts an interactive guide to help you learn when and where the best places are to watch birds locally. Situated to the west of Poole Harbour, Wareham acts as the corridor into the Purbecks, but hidden gems can also be found only a stone’s throw away from the Saxon town centre.
Where to spot wild birds around Poole Harbour
Wareham Forest is a great place to explore and discover the famous heaths and woods of the Dorset countryside.
Many miles of tracks take you through beautiful and ancient landscapes, where if you are lucky you’ll see some of the things that make it so special.
This area is home to lots of unique plants like Dorset Heath heather, and Wildlife including Natterer’s Bat and rare reptiles such as Sand Lizards and Smooth Snakes.
Wareham's Rivers and Water Meadows
Wareham’s location between the River Frome and the River Piddle make it an ideal location to explore the wildlife and nature on the river banks and watermeadows.
Read more about Wareham’s riverside walks along the Frome and Piddle.
Fun ways to explore Purbeck!
Ditch the car and find more fun new ways to explore Purbeck’s natural attractions! Here’s some great ideas for exploring Purbeck whether you are looking for some fun adventures, amazing wildlife and nature or just to enjoy some awe inspiring views of the Purbeck hills and Jurassic Coast.