Access: Martello Park

Ownership: ARC

Designation: SSSI

Restrictions: Open Access Land, please keep dogs on a lead.

The Reserve

Canford Cliffs is located along the eastern edge of Poole Harbour. This small reserve is 0.28 hectares mainly consisting of an almost vertical cliff face of sandstone. As the cliff begins to grade down leading directly onto the promenade, habitats containing heather and dwarf gorse, marram grasses, scrub and some pine species have colonized the area. Reptile species resident to the area are sand lizard and common lizard but the most abundant and conspicuous are the introduced wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) which make good use of the walled walkways with their south-facing aspects.

A Little History

The wall lizards on the reserve originated at the zigzag close to Flaghead Chine on Canford Cliffs with the release of 50-60 hatchlings in autumn 1992. This colony has been spread along the cliffs as far the car park at Branksome Dene Chine. The animals appear to be the green backed form and are believed to originate from the Italian population.