Ownership: Imerys Minerals

Designation: SSSI, SPA, SAC, Ramsar

Restrictions: Open Access Land, please keep dogs on a lead. Active quarries adjacent to nature reserve.

Access: Grange Road

Grid ref: SZ 91806 83915

The Reserve

Creech heath is an 80 hectare reserve located in stunning surroundings of the Isle of Purbeck with an unusually rich fauna. The heath consists of a mixture of habitats including dry and wet heath, acid bog, mixed deciduous/coniferous woodland and willow carr. Many large ponds are also dotted around the site and with the variation of habitats the biodiversity of the reserve is unparalleled. Home to all six native reptile species and five out of the seven native amphibian species Including the great crested newt. Creech is also home to a multitude of rare and endangered invertebrates including the rare Southern Damselfly. The reserve remains a stronghold for Dartford warbler, Woodlark, Nightjar and Hobby; all European Protected Species.

A Little History

The substrate of Creech mostly consists of clay, and use of the area for clay extraction dates back to the Bronze Age. It was the introduction of tobacco in the 16th century that began the clay trade as we know it today. In 1578 Thomas Brown purchased land at east Creech for the extraction of clay for the making of clay pipes for tobacco consumption. In 1792 Josiah Wedgewood concluded that Purbeck Blue Clay was the best in the world. He used it to create his world famous Queens Ware which made him a very wealthy man. The extensive use of this site over the years has resulted in a varied topography, which coupled with the clay substrate has allowed the formation of many ponds, ditches and slopes which provide wonderful habitat for many species.

Species you might spot:


Sand Lizard (Lacerta agilis)  

Common Lizard (Zootoca vivipara

Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis

Grass Snake (Natrix natrix

Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca

Adder (Vipera berus


Common Toad (Bufo bufo

Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus

Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris

Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)


Dartford Warbler (Sylvia undata)

Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus)

Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)

Hobby (Falco subbutteo)

Wood Lark (Lullula arborea)


Silver Studded Blue (Plebejus argus)

Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)

Grayling (Hipparchia semele)


Southern Hawker (Aeshna cynea)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)

Scarce Chaser (Libellula fulva)

Southern damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale)

This is by no means a comprehensive list of species on the reserve.