What we do Conservation Our reserves Visitor safety on reserves You are welcome to visit the vast majority of ARC's reserves, though some are owned by the military or have other access restrictions. We try to keep our reserves in as "wild" a state as possible and some are quite remote. ARC reserves are not permanently staffed and have no on site facilities. When visiting please remember: Our reserves are a great place to come and experience British wildlife and habitats but please watch your step, try and keep to definite paths and pets/children under close supervision. Heathland and coastal habitats are very open to the elements – take appropriate clothing and footwear plus sunscreen in the summer. Heaths are at high risk of fire at all times – please no open fires or BBQ’s and extinguish cigarettes properly. Please take rubbish home with you as this can pose a risk to wildlife. All our reserves have been used by industry and/or the military in the past – there is deeply undulating ground with some very steep slopes, ditches and cliffs all of which can be hidden by mature heather; please watch your step and do not pick up man-made objects. Ponds are a regular feature of our sites – these can have steep sides, deep bottoms and boggy areas around them. If you are lucky enough to come across any wildlife whist visiting our reserves please observe it from a distance to reduce disturbance as much as possible. Adders on ARC reserves: Adders do live on our reserves and in the wider countryside. They are generally a shy and secretive animal and will slither away rather than make a stand. Adders are venomous, the best ways to avoid contact are: Stick to the paths and watch your footing Keep pets and children under supervision Do not lift any man-made objects without a survey license and training – reptiles like to shelter under then and do not enjoy being disturbed If you encounter an Adder that does not move off, walk by slowly giving the animal at least 1.5 m clearance. You can find out more about adders on our adder species information page, our animated adder guide or our 'Facts and advice about adder bites' page. Check for ticks: Ticks are a native invertebrate common on grass and heathlands across the UK, they feed on the blood of any animal about three times during their lifetime. Their bite can be itchy and there is a slight risk of catching Lymes disease. When leaving site please ensure that you; Brush down clothing and check exposed skin for ticks Remove any ticks with tweezers using a clockwise twisting pull. Monitor any bites for signs of Lymes disease – such symptoms may be an expanding ring around the bite and/or general flu like symptoms. Wildfires If you live near an urban heathland you will be well aware of the devastation that can be caused by wildfires. Habitat can be destroyed, wildlife can be killed and properties and people can be threatened. They are also a massive drain on Fire Service resources. Your vigilance vital. ARC staff are relying on your help as local site users; to keep eyes and ears open for signs of fire. Arson has often been the cause of heath fires but there is also a big risk from both garden and disposable barbecues and bonfires. Please stay alert if you are exercising or walking your dog on your local nature reserve. If you see a fire or signs of fire please dial 999 and give as much location detail as you can. Thank you for caring for our countryside and the wildlife that lives there.