Earlier this month ARC proudly marked the conclusion of the 4 ½ years Snakes in the Heather project, a large collaborative project to further smooth snake conservation across its range in Southern England, by hosting the Snakes in the Heather Celebration event.

The celebration event took place in Ringwood, an area central to large areas of heathland habitat between Hampshire and Dorset. Project partners, dedicated volunteers, and supporters, who have provided species data, undertaken reptile surveys, collaboratively managed heathland habitat or supported education events, were invited to join ARC in celebrating the project’s achievements.

The event was opened by Smooth Snake Species Champion, Sir Desmond Swayne. Attendees had the opportunity to hear more about the project’s outreach programme, learn about the results from over 1500 reptile surveys that have taken place and interact with smooth snake ambassadors. The event served as a platform to express gratitude to National Lottery players for their support through the National Lottery Heritage Fund and to acknowledge the dedication of the partners and volunteers who contributed to the project's success.

Dr Tony Gent, CEO of ARC said:

This marks a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation. Therefore, the smooth snake is a high priority for conservation action because of its elusive nature, meaning our trained volunteer surveyors along with our monitoring team are now well equipped to conserve it effectively. As an ‘umbrella species’; in protecting the smooth snake we can indirectly protect many other important heathland species and habitats.

The successful completion of this project would not have been possible without the unwavering support of the Heritage Fund and the dedication of our partners and volunteers. Together, we have made a lasting impact on the preservation of smooth snakes and their habitats.

Snakes in the Heather formally concludes in March. ARC would like to again say thank you to the project’s supporters. Further details about what the project has achieved will be shared at the project’s conclusion.

Snakes in the Heather is supported by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.