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RSPB Arne, Arne Road,
Dorset, BH20 5BJ
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Arne remains one of the few places in the UK where all six of the UK's native reptiles can be found. Situated on Poole Harbour and within the Dorset Area of Natural Beauty, it's a stunning landscape which consists of dramatic open heathland and ancient oa

RSPB Arne is a patchwork of a huge array of habitats. Although the reserve is famous for it's dry and wet lowland heath you can also find ancient oak woodland, farmland, reedbed, mudflats, scrub, wet woodland, acid grassland and even sandy beaches. This mix of habitats surrounded by Poole Harbour is one of the reasons the reserve is home to such a huge variety of species.

Arne protects an important area of lowland heath. This threatened habitat is home to many rare species of animal and plant. Other habitats on the reserve include woodland, salt marsh and reedbed. Poole Harbour, adjoining the reserve, holds internationally important populations of wintering waders and wildfowl, including the second largest population of avocets in the UK. The RSPB is actively managing all these habitats for the benefit of their wildlife and to help people enjoy the amazing spectacle.

We are working to maintain and enhance the heath for the benefit of birds such as Dartford warblers, woodlarks and nightjars, as well as other wildlife such as smooth snakes, heath tiger beetle, ladybird spider, Yellow Centaury (a rare heathland plant) silver-studded blue butterfly.

We manage using a range of specialist techniques to ensure a mosaic of micro-habitats across the heath, maintaining a balance of mixed-age heather and gorse, ensuring there is enough bare ground, managing invasive pine, rhododendron and bracken to keep the heathland open as it has been for millennia. Grazing forms an important part of how we look after this historic wildlife rich landscape and you may see some of our cattle, ponies or pigs.

The reserve attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year and contributes significantly to the local economy. We have improved the facilities in order to encourage a wider appreciation of the reserve and our work. We greet visitors to the reserve at the welcome hut, meeting our visitors face-to-face means we can share more about the work we do to make Arne a special place.

The shop and cafe, opened in March 2016, means visitors can satisfy their appetite after exploring the reserve, and make a purchase in the shop stocked with bird food, and nature friendly gifts, as well as binoculars and telescopes so you can get an even better view of the wildlife. 

We also run a variety of events throughout the year, are constantly working to improve our nature trails and cater for educational groups on request. We work hard to ensure the support and involvement of the local community, and are supported by many local people who volunteer with us.

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