Earlier this year, the BHS Council agreed to donate £25,000 from the Land Fund to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC) to support a consortium purchase of a number of parcels of land being sold by the Canford Estate in Dorset. The consortium consists of the Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Lesley Haskins Charitable Trust, Poole Borough Council, Poole Harbour Commissioners and the ARC. The ARC and HCT already held leases on six of the land parcels that were being sold and there was initially serious concern as to who would buy the land and what their intentions would be. However with the consortium now purchasing land parcels containing the most important heathland habitat, the future management of these sites for the benefit of wildlife in general and herps in particular seems assured. The total land purchase cost is likely to be either £2.25M or £3.35M depending on whether an application for a £1M lottery grant is approved. The higher value funding will enable all six important land parcels to be purchased; if the lower level only is achieved, fewer parcels will be purchased.
Contracts were exchanged in June 2013 with completion - including payment of either the full or reserve property price - being set for end March 2014.
The BHS donation will contribute specifically to the purchase of Dunyeats Hill. The BHS is delighted to be able to support the consortium and this important initiative.