ARC’s Snakes in the Heather Public Engagement and Education Officer, Owain Masters bring us the latest update from our National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project, Snakes in the Heather.

My goodness the Snakes in the Heather team has been busy this summer! What with the already full summer season, the ability to resume events safely and the huge amounts of people out enjoying our natural spaces we have been working non-stop on our mission to conserve the smooth snake for future generations.

Our Citizen Science programme is full steam ahead. We have been delivering reptile survey training across the summer and by October will have trained over 100 people. Some of these are our project partners who will use the skills to survey for reptiles on their land and share their data with the project. Others are volunteers keen to support wildlife conservation in the UK.

Reptile survey training in the New Forest by Howard Inns Hidden smooth snake spotted during a reptile survey

During a recent heathland survey on a partner reserve in Dorset one of our Snakes in the Heather reptile survey volunteers Amy, spotted a smooth snake basking beneath a warm blanket of moss – highlighting just how difficult it can be to find this very elusive and cryptic species and why training is so important.

For all of those who have taken part so far we are enormously grateful and look forward to supporting you over the coming years. The survey season for reptiles is getting on so we will next be running more of these training events next year. Keep an eye on the ARC events page from early 2022.

Our Education and Events programme is similarly busy. We have lead numerous walks and activity days across the summer to teach people all about our amazing reptiles and to gain support for their conservation. 

I recently met up with the team from Exotics Keeper magazine ( to tell them about the UK's native snakes and lizards species, their heathland habitat and ARC's efforts to conserve them. You can watch the finished video below!

If you are a project partner or volunteer wanting to become involved in reptile surveys please email [email protected]

If you would like to book a talk about UK reptiles for a school or community group over the winder please email [email protected].

Snakes in the Heather is supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

ARC also thanks the Banister Charitable Trust and Love the Forest for generous donations to the Snakes in the Heather project.