Dorset's Heathland Heart Reptiles

I’m a new member of the Dorset’s Heathland Heart team having had the privilege of working on Dorset’s heaths as a Ranger for a number of years. An environment rich in nature, Dorset’s Heath’s represent some of the best Lowland Heath habitat in the UK. Lowland Heaths are the only habitat able to support all 6 of the UK’s native Reptiles.

The Back from the Brink Project is focusing on the most threatened and rarest of these, the Sand Lizard, the Smooth Snake, and worryingly the declining Adder.

Sand Lizard (c) Chris Dresh, Smooth Snake (c) Ben Andrew, Adder (c) RSPB

Reptiles need a variety of habitat features including bare ground to bask and some, such as the Sand Lizard, require open sandy patches to lay their eggs. These habitat features can easily be lost and fragmented, Back from the Brink is working with Site Managers to restore these and carry out surveys to help record numbers on key sites.

This summer volunteers recorded Sand Lizard test egg burrows at newly created sandy scrapes at sites across Wareham Forest and Stoborough Heath. It is a great start, and the work continues with further management and surveys planned for the coming year.

We will be working on an exciting new project called 'Snakes in the Heather' in conjunction with, and lead by, the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC). Together we will aim to raise public awareness of the conservation needs of our reptiles, helping to promote better understanding that safeguards their future. I can’t wait to be part of efforts to protect these special creatures!

Aemelia Roe

Outreach Officer - Plantlife


Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.