Love Dogs... Love Nature

Heathwatch

Upton HeathUpton fire June 11 all black in the valley

 

A thriving heath full of life, and unseen wildlife..... and a blackened heath after fire, some of the wildlife will not have survived.

The Urban Heaths Partnership is calling on everyone who regularly walks on the heathlands in the Purbeck, East Dorset and Poole area to help them.

Dorset heathlands, are threatened each year by fire and other damage. This can be caused by accident, recklessness and deliberately. Damage includes:

  • Arson
  • Trampling of rare plants and animals
  • Erosion of vegetation and sandy heathland soil
  • Disturbance of ground-nesting birds such as nightjars and woodlarks
  • Enrichment of the soil by dog faeces
  • Fly-tipping of rubbish and garden refuse
  • Predation of rare animals by domestic pets

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue is inviting all interested members of the public to attend one of two free Heath Watch information events open to all age groups:

  • Saturday 21st May at Hamworthy Fire Station, 435-439 Blandford Road, Hamworthy, BH15 4JN from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
  • Saturday 28th May at Wareham Fire Station, Encombe Road, Wareham, BH20 4PL from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

To find out more and book a place for the free events please call (01202) 642787 or email

The focus of the event is the prevention of damage to the precious heathlands across the County and how those who regularly use these sites can help protect them.

Most heathlands in Dorset have national and international conservation designations to protect the rare habitat and wildlife supported by them.

The Urban Heaths Partnership (UHP), comprises of 14 organisations, including Dorset Police, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue, Local Authorities, Natural England, Dorset Wildlife Trust, The Amphibians and Reptiles Conservation Trust, the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Forestry Commission.

 

The UHP works to protect and enhance Dorset’s heathland work collectively to maintain the county’s precious natural landscape, by carrying out education programmes and proactive prevention activity in schools, the community and on heathlands.

Amy Gallagher, Urban Heaths Partnership Purbeck Area Warden, said:

 “We welcome everyone who can dedicate a small amount of their time to helping protect these precious areas. If you would like to join us in our mission to protect our beautiful environment, then we would very much like to hear from you. The training we give volunteers is about providing information on the best way to report what they see, and the information the emergency services need to respond to incidents as quickly as possible.”

Residents and visitors to heathlands are asked to follow some simple steps:

 

  • If you are on a heath when a fire occurs please leave by the nearest exit and call 999 with as much information as possible.

 

  • You can also help by reporting any anti-social behaviour on the heaths either to the wardens or to the police on 101.

 

  • Remember, it is not safe to light barbecues or camp fires on any heathland site.

 

  • Do not ride motorbikes on the heath – it causes irreparable damage to the land and wildlife.

 

To find out more and book a place for the free events please call (01202) 642787 or email