Home About the Stream The Partnership The Projects Research & Data News Archive Maps Links  Contact Us

About the Bourne Stream

 About the Stream



 Bourne Valley SSSI

 Bourne Valley LNR

 Alder Hills LNR

 Did You Know?

Click for information from the Dorset Wildlife Trust websiteAlder Hills Local Nature Reserve

Managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust

Classification: SSSI, 13 acres.

Types of Habitat: dry and humid heath, wildlife pond, fringing carr woodland.

Location and Access: from the end of Sharp Road, Parkstone, or Sainsburys car park, Alder Hills.

Notable for: heathland species including all six British Reptiles, Dragonflies, Amphibians.

The History of the Reserve

This unusual reserve is set in the middle of a highly urban area, and the large pond is itself an industrial relic, having developed from a flooded clay pit abandoned in 1948.

The surrounding heathland is a tiny relic of the Great Heath which once stretched from Christchurch to Dorchester. The clay from the Alder Hills pits went to make many of the drainage pipes used as Bournemouth grew. The largest claypit was filled in the 1950s to provide the land where the Sharp road industrial site was built, and the 1980s saw proposals to develop the remaining heath and pond area.

Local residents combined to save the site, and in 1984 it was designated as a SSSI.

At the end of the 1980s Sainsburys bought the land and built a store adjacent to the reserve. In 1990 they donated the land to Poole Borough Council, and generously provided funds for the Dorset Wildlife Trust to manage the land as the Alder Hills Nature Reserve.

Inside the Reserve

The pond's remarkably pure water plays host to Newts, Frogs, Toads and 13 different species of Dragonfly. It's wildlife also includes a good variety of birds visiting to feed and nest around the pond. Kingfishers, Woodcock and Cormorants are known to use the site, and Finches and Warblers breed in the fringe of carr woodland around the water's edge.

The heathland areas on the rising slope to the North of the pond are ideally situated to provide the warm sunny conditions loved by reptiles, and both the Smooth Snake and Sand Lizard may be seen basking here in the spring.

The Emperor Moth breeds here, and the sandy banks are home to Mining Bees and parasitic Sand Wasps. Heathland colours are provided by Ling, Bell Heather and Cross Leaved Heath, with splashes of yellow from Western Gorse and Broom.

As with most heathland sites, the floral diversity is poor, but interesting casual plants such as White Melilot often appear on the fringes and paths.

Wildlife and the Community

Involvement from the local community has helped to keep this vital refuge for threatened wildlife intact, and the local management committee for the reserve has maintained this link. Visitors are welcome, but are asked to use the reserve sensibly and with regard for its wildlife.

Please Remember

  • Keep to the paths to prevent erosion.

  • Don't light fires, and dispose of cigarettes with care.

  • Don't remove animals or plants.

  • To top of pageTake your litter home.


Alder Hills Fishing Lake

Dug in the 1920’s to supply clay to the local pottery industry, Alder Hills Fishery is a two and a half acre lake. Extraction came to an end in 1948 and the flooded clay pit has become home to a variety of fish and other wildlife.

For those who wish to enjoy the natural fishing of the lake Borough of Poole Leisure Services unit issues a limited number of annual fishing permits. The lake is low stock and is known to be “hard to fish”.  It will not be restocked due to its designation as a SSSI.

Further information and a Fishing Permit Application Form is available from www.boroughofpoole.com

To top of page

About the Stream • The Partnership • The Projects • Research & Data • News Archive • Maps • Links • Contact Us

Borough of Poole | Bournemouth Borough Council | Environment Agency | Sembcorp Bournemouth Water | Wessex Water Natural England | Bournemouth University | Greenlink | Bournemouth Oceanarium | Dorset Wildlife Trust | Dorset Coast Forum

Copyright © 2000-2012 Bourne Stream Partnership.  All rights reserved.


Disclaimer and copyright