The ‘New Forest Smooth Snake Survey’ (NF-SSS…) started in 2015, aiming to further our knowledge of smooth snake distributions in the New Forest National Park by developing a network of trained volunteers to carry out targeted surveys for the species. The project also promotes awareness of the smooth snake, and all our native reptile species, through the media and local events, highlighting the New Forest as of great importance for wildlife and people.

The smooth snake is Britain's rarest reptile, now only found on the lowland heathlands of Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey, with a special introduction site in Devon. It is a very secretive creature, choosing to bask within heather vegetation and burrowing out of sight. For this reason its ecology, behaviour and distribution has been difficult to study in the past. The New Forest is well known as a national stronghold for reptiles; as the largest unspoilt tract of lowland heathland in the UK it is of great international importance to wildlife, and home to many specialist heathland species including the smooth snake. 

Many key stakeholders are involved in the NF-SSS…project, including landowners, land managers, conservation organisations, volunteer groups and interested individuals. In building close relationships and collaboration with all stakeholders, and utilising the valuable information collected by our reptile survey volunteers, the project helps us to support and inform the conservation of reptile species in the New Forest National Park.

Download our new leaflet
Reptiles of the New Forest National Park!


The NF-SSS... has been created by the New Forest Amphibian and Reptile Monitoring and Survey Partnership (NF-ARMS) - a steering group of representatives involved in the conservation and land management of the New Forest National Park and its unique species (listed below). Download the NF-SSS… Year 2 Report!

The NF-SSS... project has, to date, received generous award funding from the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) - Sustainable Communities Fund, Natural England, Forestry Commission, New Forest Trust and New Forest Association.

The NF-SSS… is part of an exciting new project called Snakes in the Heather, which will support smooth snake conservation throughout the species range on the heaths of Southern England. If you would like to find out more about these projects, or volunteer as a Reptile Surveyor for ARC, please contact

Ben Limburn – Snakes in the Heather Project Development Officer

t: 01202 391 319 (ARC office)
t: 01202 727 989 (direct)
e: [email protected]

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