A new nature reserve in Blandford will extend the Milldown and create a wildlife reserve for one of Europe’s rarest bats
Fields and woodland which adjoin Blandford’s Milldown Nature Reserve and the North Dorset Trailway have been bought by Dorset Council to create a new wildlife haven.
The 13 acres will extend the Green Flag award-winning site, creating new wildlife corridors to support the survival of one of the rarest bats in Europe, the Greater Horseshoe. The new nature reserve will provide crucial habitat for adults and juvenile bats from the nearby Bryanston Site of Special Scientific Interest roost, whilst also supporting other bat species and a host of other wildlife. The project will see hedgerows restored, a wildflower meadow established and more trees planted.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: ‘This recent land purchase is an excellent opportunity to create much-needed habitat for Dorset’s wildlife.’
The purchase has been made possible through the council’s Habitat Compensation Fund, using money secured through developer contributions and extra funding for the project from Defra’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme (administered by Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), Blandford Forum Town Council and Dorset Council.
‘Protecting and restoring Dorset’s natural environment is one of the council’s key priorities.’ said Cllr Bryan, ‘We are determined to work with partners to promote the recovery of nature and tackle the ecological emergency.’
Come and plant a tree
To launch the nature reserve, the council will be holding a volunteer tree and hedge planting event on the weekend of 21st and 22nd January.
Members of the public are invited to come along from 10am on either or both days to help with the planting. Volunteers will need to wear stout shoes or boots and bring their own spades!
To find the event, follow signs from the Milldown car park (DT11 7FU); council rangers will be on site to guide you.
• Donations of £40 (+vat) for the 70 trees being planted are being taken by Blandford Forum Town Council. Contributions can be made via their online form.