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About the Bourne Stream

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 Bourne Valley SSSI

 Bourne Valley LNR

 Alder Hills LNR

 Did You Know?


The majority of the Bourne Valley is designated:

Coy Pond Gardens and the Upper, Middle and Lower Gardens are

SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) 

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) represent our best sites for wildlife and geology. Well over half, by area, are internationally important and many play an important part in local culture and economies or provide wonderful opportunities for people to enjoy wildlife and landscape. The national wildlife and geological features of SSSIs are irreplaceable parts of our national heritage.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest are notified throughout Great Britain; English Nature is responsible for identifying and protecting these sites in England. They achieve this primarily in partnership with SSSI owners and managers, and as a result the majority are in good condition and well managed.

Notification as an SSSI is primarily a legal mechanism to protect sites that are of particular conservation interest because of the wildlife they support, or because of the geological features that are found there.

Source: www.english-nature.org.uk/special/sssi/default.htm

SPA (Special Protection Area)

SPAs are areas classified under Article 4 of the Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds).  

The Dorset Heathlands cover an extensive complex of heathland sites at the western edge of the Hampshire Basin. The area is centred around the large estuary of Poole Harbour and lies in close proximity to the urban conurbation of Bournemouth and Poole. Past losses of the heathland (an estimated 75% during the twentieth century to development, agriculture and afforestation) have left the remaining heaths in a highly fragmented state. Despite this decline and fragmentation, the heaths show a high degree of ecological cohesion. They contain large areas of dry heath, wet heath and acid valley mire, all habitats that are restricted to the Atlantic fringe of Europe. The examples of the Dorset Heathlands are among the best of their type in the UK. There are also transitions to coastal wetlands and floodplain fen habitats. 

The whole complex has an outstanding fauna in a European context, covering many different taxa. Many species have a specialist ecology, strongly associated with, or restricted to, heathland. The area is ornithologically important for specialist breeding birds of lowland heathland, as well as for some wintering raptors.  

This site qualifies as an SPA by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:

During the breeding season;

  • Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata, 418 pairs representing at least 26.1% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Three count mean, 1991-2 & 1994)

  • Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, 386 pairs representing at least 11.4% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Two year mean 1991-1992)

  • Woodlark Lullula arborea, 60 pairs representing at least 4.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at 1997)

Over winter;

  • Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, 20 individuals representing at least 2.7% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Count, as at 1991/2)

  • Merlin Falco columbarius, 15 individuals representing at least 1.0% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Count, as at 1991/2)

Source: www.jncc.gov.uk/ukspa/sites/England/UK9010101.htm

  • The Dorset Heaths SPA was declared by the UK Government in October 1998, and includes an international obligation not to allow the habitats to degrade with respect to birds.

Candidate SAC (Special Area of Conservation)

The EU's Habitats Directive includes lists of 169 habitat types and 623 species for which Member States must consider designation of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs).  There are 571 SACs in the United Kingdom (August 2002). SPAs and SACs together form a network of protected sites across the EU called "Natura 2000". 

Compared with other designations SACs tend to be large, often covering a number of separate but related sites, and sometimes including areas of developed land. In fact, the boundaries of some SACs are not very clearly defined, and some are still under discussion. Unlike other designations, SACs can stretch beyond the low tide mark into the marine environment - some are almost all marine in extent. Because the EU threatened to take legal action against the UK on the grounds that insufficient areas were designated it is likely that some extra SACs will be designated in the UK in the future.

Almost all UK SACs are based on SSSIs (although SSSIs cannot extend beyond low tide and SACs can). In planning law, they are effectively afforded the highest possible protection. 

Source: www.naturenet.net/status/sac.html

  • The Dorset Heaths SAC will soon to be declared by the UK Government, and includes an international obligation not to allow the habitats to degrade with respect to typical fauna and flora of the habitat. The instruction from Government is that candidate SACs should be treated as though they have been declared.

  • For more on the Dorset Heaths 2221.94  ha. SAC visit www.jncc.gov.uk

Ramsar Site

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 

The Convention on Wetlands came into force for the United Kingdom on 5 May 1976. The UK presently has 169 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 859,023 hectares.

Dorset Heathlands. 01/10/98; England. 6,730 ha; 50º39’N 002º09’W. National Nature Reserve, Special Protection Area EC Directive, SSSI. This inland wetland contains numerous examples of wet heath (Erica ciliaris, E. tetralix) and acid valley mire, habitats that are restricted to the Atlantic fringe of Europe. These heath wetlands are amongst the best of their type in lowland Britain. The site supports a large assemblage of nationally rare and scarce wetland plant species and invertebrates (28 species). The area is used for nature conservation, tourism, recreation, rough or shifting grazing, mining, and hunting. Ramsar site no. 964.

Source: www.ramsar.org/profiles_uk.htm

  • The Dorset Heathland RAMSAR was declared by the UK Government in October 1998, and includes an international obligation not to allow the wetland habitats to degrade including pollution of the site.

SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest)

Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCIs) are sites that are recognised to be of county importance for wildlife. They have no statutory designations but nevertheless contribute to Dorset’s diverse and outstanding wildlife heritage. Their value is recognised by Local Authorities in relation to any planning procedures that may have an effect on wildlife sites and by other organisations, including DEFRA when administrating agri-environment grant schemes.

The scheme is run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust with summaries of each site sent to Local Authorities and details on species and habitats present at each site sent to the Dorset Environmental Records Centre (DERC).

There are two SNCIs in the Bourne Valley, both of which are owned by Borough of Poole and are small green spaces within the urban setting. (1) Alderney Wood comprises two thin strips of damp woodland and a pond. Birch, oak and sallow forms the woodland canopy. The ground flora includes narrow-buckler fern, bog myrtle and wavy hair-grass; (2) Winston Avenue is remnant heathland and acid grassland. Species include heather, bell heather, western gorse, sheep’s sorrel and stag’s-horn plantain.

More information at: www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/dorset/Text/projects/SNCI.html

English Heritage Grade II* listed

As a general rule, English Heritage considers all parks or gardens over 30 years old to be "historic". 

Historic parks and gardens are a fragile and finite resource: they can easily be damaged beyond repair or lost forever. In order to recognise the existence of those sites which are of particular historic importance, English Heritage has compiled a Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England.

There are currently nearly 1450 sites included on the Register divided into three grade bands. The majority of the sites identified through the Register as being of a sufficiently high level of interest to merit a national designation, are designated grade II. Around 30% of the 1450 are considered to be of exceptional historic interest and are awarded a star giving them grade II* status. A further 10% are of international importance, and are classified as grade I.  Bournemouth Gardens are grade II* listed.

Source: www.english-heritage.org.uk

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