Amphibian and Reptile Conservation are delighted to announce that our ‘Snakes in the Heather’ project has been awarded initial support from the National Lottery.  The project will bring together key partners including Amphibian and Reptile Groups NGOs and local Wildlife Trusts, all with the aim of conserving the rare and secretive smooth snake.

The smooth snake is Britain's rarest reptile, now only found naturally on the lowland heathlands of Dorset, Hampshire and Surrey. It is a very secretive creature, choosing to bask within heather vegetation and burrowing out of sight if disturbed. For this reason, its ecology, behaviour and distribution have been difficult to study in the past, and little is known about it.

The £467,100 Heritage Lottery Fund grant will enable ARC to train volunteers to monitor and conserve smooth snakes by improving their habitat across Southern England. This information will be used to develop a targeted habitat management strategy, by identifying the key target sites that will most benefit from practical habitat management, and will be most effective in linking smooth snake heathland habitats.

The Development Phase will run from Summer 2017, and will focus on developing these important partnerships, and planning an exciting range of events and volunteer opportunities for the next stage of the bid to HLF. If successful, the project will then run for a further four years.

We are also pleased to announce that the New Forest Smooth Snake Survey (NF-SSS…) is continuing in 2017, thanks to funding from the New Forest Trust and New Forest Association, and will form an integral part of Snakes in the Heather, building on the strong partnerships that are locally already in place.

For more information on Snakes in the Heather, contact:

John Wilkinson, Science Programme Manager

t: 07810 770560
e: [email protected]

And to get involved in monitoring Smooth Snakes in the New Forest, contact:

Ben Limburn, New Forest Smooth Snake Survey (NF-SSS…) Project Officer

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