A NATURE reserve in Dorset has secured more than £40,000 worth of funding to restore heathland.

The RSPB’s Arne Reserve in Purbeck received a Biffa Award, a fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.

The heathland restoration project will deliver gorse regenerative management to restore 25.6 hectares of lowland heathland on RSPB Stoborough and Grange Heaths.

Work is currently underway and includes the creation of a mosaic of habitats and plants which will enhance Arne’s ecological network, providing an opportunity for heathland dependent species to increase their range to other local heathland sites. Species specific works will include the creation of runnels, or small streams, in an area of Bog Myrtle bushes creating 0.6 hectares of habitat for Southern Damselflies.

It is hoped that the project will directly protect and restore rare and threatened lowland heathland and increase biodiversity by creating habitat for six BAP species.

Dorset Reserve Ecology manager Toby Branston said: “Thanks to Biffa Award funding, this fantastic project will restore more than 25 hectares of rare lowland heathland on RSPB Stoborough Heath.

“It will create much needed habitat for a range of threatened species including sand lizards, Dartford warblers, Southern Damselfly and the locally endemic Purbeck Mason wasp.”