Holt Heath National Nature Reserve

The largest remaining area of prime lowland Dorset heath with a diverse array of habitat.  

NOTE: Do not confuse this with Holton Heath National Nature Reserve - a totally different place. 

Site Name Holt 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=S1003738…
Site Projects
Holt Heath National Nature Reserve

Holt Heath: on a grand scale -

The first thing you notice on arrival at Holt Heath is the extensive area it covers; far too much to take in on one visit. There is lots to see and places to discover but it probably requires a lot of time! It is a reserve well worth a visit and it is easy to see why this is designated a national nature reserve as it is the largest continuous area of prime lowland Dorset heath remaining.

It differs in character from the possibly better known heaths of the Purbeck area although at first sight they may all seem just heathland! The reserve has a diverse array of habitat from predominantly dry heath with smaller areas of wet heath and myre as well as two areas of semi-natural woodland (Holt Forest and Holt Wood) to the north west. All six native reptiles can be found here together with a staggering number of plants and insects including the black darter dragonfly. The bird species include Dartford warbler and nightjar as well as nesting curlew, the only remaining site in Dorset.

Not to be confused with Holton Heath National Nature Reserve which is some distance away near Wareham.  

Holt Heath National Nature Reserve

50.83911560945, -1.9241146487949
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
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
H6

Sand Dunes

11
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
A2

Scrub

8
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
D3

Lichen/Bryophyte heath

7
A1.2

Conifer Plantation

5
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
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

8
CG02

Festuca ovina - Helictotrichon pratense [Sheep's Fescue/Meadow Oat-grass] grassland

7
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

7
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

7
CG07

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

7
CG10

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

7
W10

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

7
MG05

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

6
M15

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

6
CG01

Festuca ovina - Calluna vulgaris [Sheeps Fescue/Ling] grassland

6
Site Diary
Project:
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
03-08-11

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view
The number of species recorded per species group: