Slepe Heath

An area of heathland, until recently conifer plantation, where the National Trust are now engaged in habitat restoration.  

Site Name Slepe Heath
Protection
  • National Trust
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
4
County Dorset
More Information
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1002993…
Site Projects
Slepe Heath

Slepe Heath: No longer asleep -

When we moved to Dorset in 2006 Slepe Heath was covered by a conifer plantation and was not worth visiting. Not long after our arrival it was acquired by the National Trust and the conifers were removed and restoration to heathland habitat was soon underway. Now this is one of the main sites in Purbeck for many scarce heathland specialist insects including the heath tiger beetle , the heath bee-fly and the heath sand wasp. There are more significant animals and plants here too many of which the casual visitor will never see but they all add up to making Slepe Heath a bit special.

From the casual visitors perspective, as opposed to the dedicated naturalist, it is a bleak, unforgiving landscape with the paths on the higher ground barely recognisable in places and soft, sandy and difficult in others. That said, the main path across the area is quite reasonable for most walkers. 

Whilst dry heath on higher ground as the ground slopes down towards Hartland Moor to the south it becomes boggy and specialist plants can be found here including a good display of bog asphodel. I suspect, but I have never found them, there are marsh gentian here too. The path through here has a good number of round-leaved sundew.

Mid-summer is the best time to visit Slepe Heath unless you are keen on birds when winter can produce an interesting array of visitors including merlin and, occasionally, short-eared owl.

Slepe Heath

50.674493556365, -2.0694411512866
National Trust, Site of Scientific Interest
4
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
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

15
H6

Sand Dunes

15
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
E3

Fen and carr

14
A2

Scrub

12
E2

Flush and Spring

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
E1

Bog

10
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

10
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
W10

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

20
MG05

Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland

18
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

14
M23

Juncus effusus - Galium palustre [Soft Rush/Marsh Bedstraw] rush pasture

14
M15

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

12
W09

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

12
CG10

Festuca ovina - Agrostis capillaris - Thymus polythricus [Sheeps Fescue/Common Bent/Wild Thyme] grassland

10
W08

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

10
MG06

Lolium perenne - Cynosurus cristatus [Perennial ryegrass/Crested dog's tail] grassland

10
CG07

Festuca ovina - Pilosella officinarum - Thymus polytrichum [Sheeps Fescue/Mouse-ear hawkweed/Wild Thyme] grassland

9
Site Notables
Site Diary
Project:
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
14-05-17

There is no information about this visit

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17-09-18

There is no information about this visit

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18-04-19

There is no information about this visit

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07-07-19

There is no information about this visit

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17-06-20

Sunny again with white fluffy clouds and quite warm

  • The nationally scarce yellow bartsia in flower; a dozen or so plants
  • Keeled skimmer on the pond but otherwise few insects about
  • Still some orchids in flower and sundew in the more damp areas
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The number of species recorded per species group: