A generous donation of £5,000 from Haskins Garden Centres Ltd has enabled Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and its partners to reach the match-funding target for a grant of £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Great Heath Living Landscape project.
The project will protect and manage land which provides wildlife-rich habitat for rare and threatened species, including the Dartford Warbler and all six UK reptiles, such as the nationally rare smooth snake and sand lizard, which are both found on Dorset heathland.
Warren Haskins, Chairman of Haskins Garden Centres Ltd, which has a branch in Ferndown, said that he was pleased that he and other local businesses are supporting the project: “As a child living in the region I explored many of the local heaths and woodland and enjoyed the variety of wildlife to be seen. I’m delighted that these areas are now to be protected by the trust.”
DWT’s Director of Operations, Brian Bleese said: “We are very grateful to Haskins Garden Centres for this generous donation which has helped DWT to reach its fundraising target for the Great Heath Living Landscape Project. We are pleased that so many individuals, schools local groups and businesses, both large and small have recognised the importance of this project for both people and wildlife and have chosen to support it.”
With help from the HLF grant and £2 million of local fundraising, DWT and partners have now purchased nearly 1500 acres of wildlife-rich land in east Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. The Great Heath Living Landscape project will manage this land for the benefit of both wildlife and people.
The next phase of the project will create an enhanced access network across the whole area and will deliver thousands of opportunities for people to learn about, enjoy and help to conserve their natural heritage. Activities include events and volunteering activities to get local people involved with wildlife conservation in the area.
The Great Heath Living Landscape Project still needs funds for associated projects to enable long-term management of the sites we have purchased, such as improving access, management of the land and site interpretation. To donate to the project, and find out about events and volunteering, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/tgh