ARC Members Area

Welcome to the ARC Members Area!

We have created this exclusive area on the ARC website just for our ARC Members. The members pages will only be visible to ARC Members who are logged in to the website (log in via the link at the top of this page). Don't forget to activate your access by following the instructions in you confirmation email or joining letter.

The Members Area includes a new look ARC nature reserves section with an interactive map, a resources library and news and events section. Take a look around and let us know what you think via [email protected] 

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In the summer of 2009, BBC breakfast viewers experienced live the first ten smooth snakes taken from Dorset to boost numbers in Devon. Led by ARC and partners, these non-venomous elusive native species, had not previously been seen in the wild for 50 years. BBC reporter Tim Muffet returned 14 years later to East Devon’s Pebblebed Heaths this month, to see if the reintroduction had been successful.


ARC worked in partnership with RSPB, Clinton Devon Estates (Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust), Devon Wildlife Trust and Natural England to reintroduce smooth snakes to Devon.  Between 2009 and 2010, 16 adult smooth snakes were released into the wild so that they could re-establish the species in the western most part of its natural range. 


The animals released were taken under licence from wild populations in Dorset. Ever since then the land managers (RSPB) have been carefully managing the habitat to help smooth snakes and other heathland reptiles to thrive and local volunteers have been monitoring how the population is faring, supported by ARC.  The population at the introduction site appears to be doing well – the species is now widely distributed across the whole of the site wherever there is suitable habitat.  During last year’s surveys our licenced Reptile Surveyor volunteers recorded several young, showing that the animals are breeding.  ARC’s Snakes in the Heather (SitH) project is now working with neighbouring landowners to see if the population has been able to spread into the adjacent heaths.

Owain Masters, SitH Public Engagement & Education Officer


ARC’s work with the Devon snakes is now part of a bigger project working to help smooth snake populations right across southern England (the whole of their national range within the UK).


The reintroduction is a great example of what can be achieved when conservation experts and volunteers from the local community work together in partnership.  Our Snakes in the Heather project funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund is working in partnership with 34 other organisations to monitor and conserve smooth snakes and their heathland habitats.   

Dr Karen Haysom, ARC Species Programmes Manager 



The bigger picture

Snakes in the Heather (SitH) is an exciting and ambitious project led by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) to conserve the smooth snake throughout its range in Southern England. The project is support by National Lottery players via a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant. SitH is advancing our knowledge of the species and coordinating conservation efforts essential for its long-term survival. We work in partnership with a wide variety of wildlife conservation organisations, site managers, landowners and individuals to protect this rare and elusive species and the internationally important lowland heathland habitat on which it depends. The project is i) raising public awareness of the conservation needs of our reptile and heathland heritage, helping to promote better understanding that safeguards their future ii) promoting community relationships, personal wellbeing and life opportunities by providing chances for people to engage as project volunteers, allowing them to gain new skills and knowledge iii) developing guidance and technical support to advance the conservation and ecological resilience of the smooth snake and other heathland reptiles.

The surveys undertaken in Devon and Snakes in the Heather contribute data to the National Reptile Survey which is part of the National Amphibian and Reptile Monitoring Programme.  These surveys are designed to provide data that can be used to assess species status at different scales, to guide actions to help species recovery.

ARC is a recognised authority on reintroductions for rare reptiles and amphibians. ARC has re-established populations of the natterjack toad, sand lizard, pool frog,  and the smooth snake bringing about a reversal of extinction at the regional or national level. This experience has been achieved in partnership with government agencies and other partners, and the learning outcomes have contributed to international guidance.