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PQBH Marina Guide 2018 flipbook

Holes Bay Nature Park

Holes Bay Nature Park Discovering Holes Bay by Nicky Hoar The Great Heath partnership was formed by Dorset Wildlife Trust in response to the amazing opportunity to buy 1500 acres of heathland, woodland, meadow, wetland, harbour and marsh in east Dorset. With £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £2 million so far from partners and fundraising, the land (and sea!) has now been bought and forms part of Dorset’s very first urban living landscape for people and wildlife, lying between Purbeck and the New Forest. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure important habitats on land and sea, the creation of the Holes Bay Nature Park, stretching from the heart of Poole to Upton Country Park and on to Hamworthy. Here you have the chance to get as close to rare and beautiful nature as it gets and to discover other beautiful sites via linking trails. It is also a place where thousands of people have contact with the harbour, whether running, cycling, walking or driving by, angling or just shopping at Asda! Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Britain, an internationally important protected area for wildlife, with up to 20,000 wildfowl and not only for wildlife but for the many people that enjoy and use them too. Included in the purchase were parts of Poole Harbour itself, an important area for wildlife as well as a commercial port and popular place for leisure boat users, kayaking, angling and commercial fishing. The marine sites bought through The Great Heath are the eastern half of Lytchett Bay and a large proportion of Holes Bay, which both offer many opportunities for encouraging people to learn about and enjoy nature. The Great Heath purchase at Holes Bay has enabled wading birds in winter. There is also a dazzling variety of hidden wildlife here, from at least 12 species of fish swimming in the shallow waters to over 80 species of worms, crustaceans, molluscs and insect larvae in the incredibly rich mud. The area north of the railway line in Holes Bay and the western corner of Lytchett Bay are bird sensitive areas, due to their use by internationally significant numbers of birds. New interpretation boards help to spread the messages to all users about these precious places as well as encouraging people to enjoy 64 The Poole Harbour and Marina Guide 2018

they have improved access and information about this quiet haven for wildlife and people. This is one of the few places where you can still see the natural change from heathland to marshland habitats, once found all round Poole Harbour. On land there are rare reptiles and breeding birds and the Bay is another key site for wading birds and wildfowl, which feed on the rich invertebrate life of the sheltered mudflats. At least 12 species of fish live in the shallow waters their spectacular wildlife and trails. Holes Bay is a hub for ‘green’ access including The Poole Harbour Trail, National Cycleway 25, local public rights of way, Poole Heritage Cycle Trail and the Castleman Trailway to Broadstone and beyond. Lytchett Bay is also part of The Poole Harbour Trail and lies close to Upton Country Park. The Great Heath purchase at Lytchett Bay created the new Dorset Wildlife Trust Lytchett Bay Nature Reserve, managed in partnership with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. Together with other landowners around the Bay, The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project led by Dorset Wildlife Trust and involves Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council, The Erica Trust, Bournemouth Borough Council and Christchurch and East Dorset Councils. More information and details of events in The Great Heath can be found at www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/thegreatheath 65

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