Developers fund new Dorset nature reserve


A grant of £895,000 will create a new 15-ha nature reserve at Bere Regis in Dorset.

The plans for the Wild Woodbury reserve are the result of a vote by Dorset Council on the use of money paid by developers for mitigation for the construction of 430 homes in Purbeck.

The site has already been the focus of a community rewilding project, resulting in successful breeding pairs of Tree Pipit and Woodlark in 2022. In just a year, Eurasian Skylarks increased from two singing males to 18.

Tree Pipit bred successfully at Wild Woodbury in 2022 (Will Bown).

In an effort to encourage visitors to arrive by public transport, parking space at the reserve will be limited to 14 cars. Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) will manage the reserve, and the charity hopes to add a visitor centre and cafe at a later date.

The council said it hoped the new nature reserve would increase the area's biodiversity at no cost to the taxpayer. The site has been designated as a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG).

Imogen Davenport, DWT officer, said the project had received support from the local community after a consultation event and an online survey.