Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve

A large area of heathland lying behind Studland and between the Purbeck Ridge and Poole Harbour. A national nature reserve.

 

Site Name Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve
Protection
  • National Trust
  • National Nature Reserve
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
2
County Dorset
More Information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dorsets-national-nature-reserves/dor…
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1003268…
Site Projects
Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve

Godlingston Heath: not quite heaven on earth -

Godlingston heath sweeps down from the northern slopes of the Purbeck Ridge to meet the sea in Poole Harbour. It may look a vast open, featureless expanse from my photograph and it is!

This is a bleak and hostile environment for any plant or creature that has not adapted survive in such conditions; very sandy soil in places, wet bog and myre in others. It is the hostility of the environment that has made this an SSSI and a national nature reserve because what does survive here is quite special and unique. The citation issued with the SSSI notification explains why this is a special site. A quick glance at it reveals that all the native species of British reptiles can be found here along with some rare insects on which the reptiles feed! Special plants that grow here include the nationally rare Dorset Heath, bilberry (which is uncommon at low levels) and the scarce great sundew.  

Scattered across the heath are boulders and by far the biggest and most interesting is the Agglestone Rock which draws people from far and wide to see it. It stands alone on the heath and it is said that the devil threw it off the top of the Purbeck Ridge when angry about something, I do not know what! The Agglestone Rock is made of ironstone which is odd because that is not what the underlying soil is.

This is not a site for those less able, the paths are sandy and heavy going in places.  

Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve

50.649784419022, -1.9769863542907
National Trust, National Nature Reserve, Site of Scientific Interest
2
These are the habitat types that MAY be present on the site based on the species recorded there (top 10 only shown):
Phase 1 Habitat Types Description No of Species
D1

Dwarf Shrub Heath

20
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
E3

Fen and carr

14
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

12
E2

Flush and Spring

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
E1

Bog

10
H6

Sand Dunes

10
A2

Scrub

9
F2

Water Margin & Inundation Vegetation

9
These are the number of species for NVC codes on the site - it DOES NOT mean that the NVC community is actually present on the site: it might be! (Top 10 only shown):
NVC Community Description No of Species
M15

Trichophorum germanicum - Erica tetralix [Deer-grass/Cross-leaved heath] wet heath

12
W10

Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland

12
W08

Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland

10
W09

Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland

10
M16

Erica tetralix - Sphagnum compactum [Cross-leaved heath/Compact Bog-moss] wet heath

10
W22

Prunus spinosa - Rubus fruticosus [Blackthorn/Bramble] scrub

7
W21

Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub

7
H03

Ulex minor - Agrostis curtisii [Dwarf gorse/Bristle bent] heath

6
H04

Ulex gallii - Agrostis curtisii [Western gorse/Bristle bent] heath

6
W16

Quercus - Betula - Deschampsia flexuosa [Oak/Birch/Wavy Hair-grass] woodland

6
Site Diary
Project:
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
12-07-09

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view
The number of species recorded per species group: