Love Dogs... Love Nature

Pull a Pine for Christmas

Dog at Arne credit Emma StephensHelp give nature a home this Christmas and receive a FREE sustainable Christmas tree in return.  Dogs on lead welcome.

'We're off to Arne!' ... Photo credit Emma Stephens

RSPB Arne reserve near Wareham, today announced the date for the 11th Pull a Pine for Christmas public event. On Saturday 2nd December between 11am and 3pm visitors can turn up when ever they like, stay as long as they want and have some fun removing small pine trees from the Heathland.

RSPB Organiser Rob Farrington said ‘The Heathland habitat we have here at Arne is rarer than tropical rainforest, over the last 200 years we have seen a massive 80% reduction in Dorset alone. Heathland is not wasteland, it may look barren and bare but it is the most bio-diverse habitat in the UK, that is, more species of wildlife call Heathland home than any other type of environment.’

So where do you come in?

Heathland is a heavily managed habitat. It will quickly turn into woodland if left to its own devices and on around 1,000 hectares of Heathland on the Isle of Purbeck the RSPB maintains this amazing home for wildlife. The gorse is coppiced (cut right back, which enables the plant to grow once more from scratch) every 15 years to keep it in tip top condition for wildlife. Our ancestors also did this as gorse burns incredibly hot and was used to fuel bread ovens. The heather is cut or burnt at regular intervals to create a patchwork of heights and ages of plants which benefits different species. For example, in short, recently cut areas you may find the tropical looking sand lizard, green tiger beetles and nesting woodlark and in the older taller heather you may find the rare smooth snake and Dartford warbler. These jobs and many others are carried out by a small team of RSPB staff and volunteers year in year out for wildlife, made possible by the charities many members but there is one job that the RSPB cannot handle on its own.  Invasive pine trees.

Rob continues ‘Every year thousands of tiny pine trees must be removed from our Heathland by hand. On the 2nd December at Arne all the family can head down to help us out. All tools are provided and there are hot drinks and local food for sale to keep everyone going. Participants can take a break from pine pulling to make natural Christmas decorations using materials foraged from the reserve. As a thank you for visitors hard work, they are welcome to cut down a ‘Christmas tree’ sized pine to take home for free, or take one of the many pre cut pines cut by RSPB volunteers. The result is a win, win; visitors save themselves money on a tree and end up with a local, sustainable replacement as well as having a fun family day out. The RSPB saves time and money on clearing trees themselves meaning that funds are freed up to do more for wildlife in the area. What could be better?’

The event has become a bit of a local Christmas tradition with local families as the way to kick start the festivities and other charities and conservation bodies; Dorset Wildlife Trust, Natural England and National Trust all offering tools and support for the event. There is a charge per car: £5 per RSPB member car, £10 per non-member car.

For more information and to arrange an interview please contact:

Robert Farrington, RSPB Dorset Visitor Experience Manager 01929 553360, 07725574793

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, RSPB Arne Work Centre, Arne, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5BJ

Tel: 01929 553360 or UK Headquarters Tel: 01767 680551 Website:

The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing - help us keep it that way. Click here to join today

'The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654