Size: 0.28ha

Ownership: ARC

Designation: SSSI

Restrictions: No access, camping or fires permitted.

Access: Martello Park

This small reserve mainly consists of an almost vertical cliff face of sandstone and valued as a native and non-native lizard habitat.

The Reserve

Canford Cliffs is located along the eastern edge of Poole Harbour.  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.

What to see

This is a native site for the sand lizard, common lizard and slow worm. Non-consented release of non-native wall lizards has put pressure on the native sand lizard population as wall lizards which breed quicker than our native species. 

Wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) make good use of the walled walkways with their south-facing aspects.They 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.