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Turbary Common is an important nature reserve, containing more heathland than any other site in north Bournemouth. It is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Common is one of the fragments that remains of a once much larger heathland that covered most of south-east Dorset. Other similar isolated areas of heath include Canford Heath and Upton Heath, in the adjoining borough of Poole.
The 45 hectare site also contains scrubby habitats above old tip land, and a plantation of deciduous and coniferous trees. It is the heathland that gives the site its real importance, with both dry and wet heath. These habitats are home to important flora and fauna, including Dartford warblers, all six species of British reptile, plants including sundew and bog asphodel, and insects such as the long-winged conehead (a type of bush cricket) and the small red damselfly.
Exmoor Pony on Turbary Common
Three Exmoor ponies graze the site, and Shetland cattle are occasionally present too. These animals are part of the Council’s grazing management| programme, and improve the habitats for wildlife.
Turbary Common is situated in the north of the Borough, and is flanked by Wallisdown Road and Turbary Park Avenue. There are several access points from Turbary Park Avenue, one access point from Wallisdown Road, and several access points from Canford Avenue. These are either kissing gates or walk-through stiles.
There are some hard surface footpaths on the site. Other paths are sandy, muddy or grassy. Boots may be required during periods of wet weather. Some of the footpaths are suitable for wheelchair users, but wheelchair users will need to contact the Parks Team| to obtain a special gate key.
There is a management plan| for Turbary Common, which contains more detailed information about the wildlife and management of the site. There are occasional guided walks| on the site throughout the year.
You can check the location of this site on the Parks and Countryside map|.
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