Alder Hills Nature Reserve

Alder Hills is an abandoned clay pit which has an interesting array of animal and plant species and is well worth a visit.

 

Site Name Alder Hills Nature Reserve
Protection
  • BCP Council
  • Local Nature Reserve
Interest
2
County Dorset
More Information https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteLNRDetail.aspx?SiteCode=L1008…
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteLNRDetail.aspx?SiteCode=L1008…
Site Projects
Alder Hills Nature Reserve

Alder Hills: the volcano crater -

Alder Hills is an interesting place, it not so much hills as a large pond. The best way I can describe it is to say that it is like a dormant volcano with a crater filled with water. It is not a volcano, of course, it is the result of clay extraction some years ago and now nature has recollonised the whole area and made a very good job of it too!

Being originally heath on very sandy soil the natural vegetation of heathers (ling and bell heather) and gorse (western gorse and dwarf gorse) have spread across the inner slopes of the crater to create ideal habitat for some rare insects, including the heath grasshopper, and rare reptiles such as sand lizard and smooth snake. Not surprisingly this relatively small area, despite being surrounded by housing and industrial units, is an SSSI of some note.

The pond itself has various water lillies which appear to have been introduced and also has some exotic fish and terrapins which have been added by local people over time. Whilst lovely to look at, in my view the pond lacks the interest of the surrounding heath.

The slopes down to the pond on the north side and the path, especially around the south side, are quite hard going so if you are not that stable and able then perhaps Alder Hills might be too much of a challenge.  

Alder Hills Nature Reserve

50.737112899014, -1.9130141471716
BCP Council, Local Nature Reserve
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

17
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

15
A2

Scrub

12
B3

Calcareous Grassland

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

7
A1.2

Conifer Plantation

5
E3

Fen and carr

5
H6

Sand Dunes

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
W10

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

10
W08

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

7
W09

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

6
W07

Alnus - Fraxinus - Lysimachia nemorum [Alder/Ash/Yellow Pimpernel] woodland

5
M15

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

5
W21

Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub

5
W06

Alnus glutinosa - Urtica dioica [Alder/common nettle] woodland

4
H03

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

4
H04

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

4
W16

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

4
Site Notables
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes Project Click for records and photos
13-08-13

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view
The number of species recorded per species group: