CAMPAIGNERS have spent more than £4million buying land for a new conservation project.

Thanks to fundraising and a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, Dorset Wildlife Trust has bought 20 lots – around 1,500 acres – of wildlife habitat to support The Great Heath Living Landscape.

The project is a partnership between the trust, local authorities and other conservation bodies. Areas purchased include Lytchett Bay, Upton Heath, Holes Bay, Parley Common and Ferndown Common. The sites are home to many rare and threatened species, including the Dartford Warbler and all six UK reptiles, including the smooth snake and sand lizard.

The project will link the New Forest National Park to the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area, with high quality access and interpretation to connect sites across the area. A three-year access and engagement project will begin to create opportunities for people to help conserve the environment.

DWT’s Director of Operations, Brian Bleese said: “We are very excited about taking the project into the next phase to help local people and communities benefit from the wealth of wildlife around them.”

See dorsetwildlife for further details.