IT is a pity that the Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) does not apply similar criteria, ie encouraging wildlife and having regard to the plight of pollinators, to the Winfrith Heath and Tadnoll Nature Reserve, as it does to its “Get Dorset Buzzing” campaign (Echo, 6.2.20).

Fifty years ago, when my husband and I moved to Dorset, this area was teeming with wildlife. In the water meadows (part of Tadnoll Nature Reserve) lapwing, snipe, curlew and redshank could be found nesting. The gorse was home to, eg Dartford warbler and stonechat, and trees such as silver birch, which is one of the best trees for insects, supported siskin, redpoll and bulfinch. These days there is very little evidence of any of these or any other birds – the area is pretty much silent.

In the 1980s Winfrith Heath was threatened with a new nuclear power station and my husband (who was a scientist studying the genetics of insects at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, formerly the Nature Conservancy) along with members of the Winfrith Heath Committee fought and successfully stopped this development.

Subsequently we were relieved when the then Dorset Naturalist’s Trust (now the DWT) bought the area and it became the nature reserve it now is.

Were my husband alive today he would be incandescent at the activities of the DWT over recent years. They seem intent on removing every single tree (mainly birch) and gorse bush on the reserve.

Only this week I found their employees taking out yet more gorse in an area I know is the territory of a pair of Dartford warblers.

Along the main track, where two years ago I counted over 80 wild orchids, last year (after the removal of many trees and gorse which provide shade) I counted 8.

Two weeks ago the rest of the gorse and trees along this track were removed and burned. I doubt I will find a single flower this year.

Everywhere these days people are being asked to plant trees. Trees for Dorset (, a small local charity with a tiny income compared to the DWT, have recently set up a scheme called “I’m backing a greener Britain” to do tree plantings in Dorset, which has been well received by the general public.

I really do wonder how the DWT can justify their activities on Winfrith Heath and Tadnoll Nature Reserve and if their membership are aware of how their money is being spent.

Jane Pearson

Gatemore Road