Lowland Heathland, heather, Grip Heath, Arne RSPB reserve, July 2000

Wild Purbeck

Wild Purbeck

Purbeck is one of the richest places for wildlife in the UK. This is thanks to its unique combination of open coast, natural harbour, heathland, chalk and limestone habitats. 

Dorset heath thrives here with an incredible variety of rare insects, such as southern damselflies.

Nationally-important numbers of brent geese and avocets choose Poole Harbour as their home over winter. The harbour is also home to a large colony of breeding terns, and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, England’s only natural World Heritage Site.

Writers and artists such as Thomas Hardy, Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland all drew inspiration from Purbeck’s beauty.

From its thriving tourist economy, to its farming communities and military ranges, Purbeck is as vital for people as it is for wildlife.


PDF, 1.44Mb. Date: 5 September 2014

Futurescapes - Wild Purbeck

Explore the area

Find out what’s going on near this Futurescape, including places to visit, news and local events, plus how you can work or volunteer for us.

Lodmoor RSPB reserve

Nearby reserves

Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:


This is an unusual yet important landscape where you can enjoy a vast expanse of open heathland and old oak woodland. Arne is a fantastic place for family walks at any time of year, has played host to BBC's Autumnwatch and has regular children's days which enable all the family to learn about the nature of the heaths.

Sunset over heathland at RSPB Arne nature reserve
Aerial views of Arne RSPB reserve, Wareham, Dorset
Landscape view of reserve showing heather and water, Arne RSPB Reserve, Dorset.

Featured projects

We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.

Dorset Heathland Project

The RSPB has been managing heathland in Dorset for more than 30 years. In 1989, we established the Dorset Heathland Project to promote heathland conservation outside our reserves. Staff work with landowners to remove invasive scrub and rejuvenate heather and gorse.

Navitus Bay Wind Park

The south west is blessed with a geography and climate which should be able to support a vibrant renewable energy industry. However, while there is a great prize to be won here, we need to work hard to ensure that any renewable energy development is sited with minimal impact to the environment. 

Dartford warbler shaking water from its feathers, Arne RSPB reserve, Dorset

Our partners

Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in Wild Purbeck. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:

Saving special places