Ownership: Erica Trust

Designation: SSSI, SAC, SPA

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

Access: Wimborne Road

Grid ref: SU 06585 00711

The Reserve

This 68 Hectares of open heathland surrounded by an urban environment consists of a mix of dry, humid and wet heath dominated by bell heather and purple moor grass. The reserve is home to the native six species of reptiles being especially good for the smooth snake .This site also holds three large ponds located within the mixed deciduous/coniferous tree boundaries and are home to all of the common amphibian species. Western gorse is found across large parts of the heath, and is managed for a strong population of Dartford warblers . Management of the reserve is ongoing to prevent the succession of invasive scrub to maintain open heathland.

A Little History

Ferndown/Hampreston Common would have once been part of a much larger complex of heath stretching from the Poole basin in the south to the Verwood in the North and linking up to the New Forest in the East. With the Enlargement of Ferndown town Centre from the 1900’s onward, the connection between the nearby reserve of Parley Common was lost. The ongoing development of the area led to the reserve being totally isolated by urbanization. The Common was used for sand aggregates extraction up to the late 1950’s and also hosts two large Bronze Age tumuli.

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)

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)

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