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Boscombe and Southbourne Overcliff LNR extends along a stretch of cliff top in the east of the Borough. The reserve, the ninth to be designated in Bournemouth, covers an area of 23 acres, including cliff top and the cliffs themselves. The importance of the area is highlighted by the fact that a section of the reserve is also designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI). There are fine views across to the Purbecks from the site.
Bournemouth's cliffs are rich in flora and fauna, as well as geology. The areas between the road and the cliffs are a mixture of grassland and scrub, and are home to several rare species of plants and animals. The gorse scrub provides nesting sites for stonechats, greenfinches and the rare Dartford warbler, and kestrels are often seen hunting along the cliffs. Butterflies are a feature in the summer, including the common blue, and continental visitors such as the painted lady and clouded yellow. The bee wolf, a type of wasp, which feeds on honey bees, can sometimes be seen carrying its prey into the small nest holes it excavates in the ground.Wall lizard
Two exotic species of reptile can also be found on the reserve, the wall lizard and the green lizard. The wall lizard is the easiest to spot - on a warm day, they can be seen on the sides and tops of the walls of the zig-zag path of Portman Ravine. The larger, and superbly coloured green lizard, is harder to find, but worth it if you see one.
The reserve is situated along a stretch of cliff top, from Boscombe Chine Gardens in the west to Grange Road. There is parking in bays along Boscombe Overcliff Drive, between Boscombe Chine Gardens and Cafe Riva, and there are parking spaces along Southbourne Overcliff Drive between Cafe Riva and Grange Road. There are hard surface footpaths all along the reserve, which are suitable for wheelchair users.
There are occasional guided walks| on the site throughout the year. On-site noticeboards give more information about the area. A management plan| for Boscombe Cliff and Overcliff gives more details about the flora and fauna of the site, and its management.
Parks and Countryside Map|.
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