31st March 2016

In March 2015 we were shocked by the devastating fire on Town Common, Christchurch during which around 75 hectares of lowland heathland were lost. The following days were taken up with rescue attempts, and a massive amount of voluntary public help allowed us to catch and relocate just over 500 reptiles (See article in Hop Gossip Autumn/Winter 2015).

Visiting the site one year on, there is some evidence of new growth, with wetter areas having a covering of heather, but also vast areas that remain barren offering little refuge for reptiles or other heathland specialists.

Over time the lost habitat will re-establish and the animals that were pushed out will hopefully recolonise. ARC staff and volunteers have put in a massive effort over the last year to enhance other parts of the site for its resident wildlife and this work will continue.

Gary Powell
Senior Reserves Manager