Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC), the national wildlife charity, is making an urgent appeal for funds to help secure the future of Blackmoor, an important area of heathland in Hampshire.

ARC manages just over 41 hectares of Blackmoor, which is part of Woolmer Forest. Twenty hectares (50 acres) of the site is now being put up for sale by the private landowner.

ARC needs just under £250,000 by the end of September 2019 to buy the site before the end of the year.  It hopes to raise £10,000 or more of this through crowdfunding donations from those who know and love the area.

Dr Tony Gent, ARC’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “ARC has been managing the overall Blackmoor site since 2010, with Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) payments since 2012. Woolmer Forest is a SSSI and Blackmoor is also designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA).

“The site is home to adders, great crested newts, smooth newts, palmate newts, common frogs, common toads, common lizards and slow-worms. An objective of our land purchase is to reintroduce natterjack toads, restoring their range in Hampshire at a location next to the only surviving naturally-occurring population in southern England.

“We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to help us buy the land for the continued benefit of amphibians, reptiles and the habitats on which they depend. Without secure ownership Blackmoor and its important species face an uncertain future.”

ARC is aiming to raise the majority of the funding from individual donations and trusts and has already received pledges of £85,000 towards the purchase, but crowdfunding support would form a crucial element and demonstrate the importance of the area to local people.

ARC is based in Dorset and owns or manages 80 nature reserves around the UK as exemplar sites for amphibians and reptiles and other species.  All UK native amphibians and reptiles have suffered population decline in recent years due to habitat loss or fragmentation – hence the importance of safeguarding key locations.  Opportunities to buy important sites such as Blackmoor are rare and do not come up often.

Donate to our fundraising appeal!