This is Wareham Arc

Wareham Arc is one of 22 large-scale nature recovery projects in England, in Round 1 of DEFRA’s Landscape Recovery Scheme. During 2023 and 2024 the project is in its development phase, the partnership of over 25 landowners and land managers are working on plans for an ambitious 20+ year implementation phase which we hope to be successful in securing funding for. The project area is over 4000Ha in size and contains a diverse mix of habitats with a wide range of land uses; we’re working with everything from dairy farms to nature reserves. We’re named Wareham Arc because the area involved forms an arc shape around the town of Wareham. The landscape we are working in already contains rich wildlife and special habitats but we think it can be even better. We’re looking to unlock nature’s full potential with varied actions from wide-scale Rhododendron removal to ambitious river restoration projects.

Some of the project’s key aims are to:

  • Increase the area, and improve the condition, of priority habitats.
  • Improve habitat connectivity so that species can move through the landscape more easily and currently isolated populations can expand their distributions.
  • Improve water quality in the four rivers running through the project area, contributing to the reduction of nutrients in Poole Harbour where excessive nutrient levels are currently causing degradation of this internationally important site.
  • Transition areas to low-input farming (where artificial fertilisers and pesticides are not in use) and increase the use of other nature friendly farming practices.
  • Move a greater amount of the public forest estate from a clearfell/replant forestry system to a Low Impact Silvicultural System (LISS), utilising natural regeneration alongside encouraging greater species diversity and overall woodland resilience.
  • Reduce the negative impacts of invasive non-native species.
  • Allow a wider range of people access to the landscape and the ability to connect with nature​.
  • Increase nature-based volunteering opportunities – including citizen science.
  • Provide more diverse nature-based events that attract new audiences.
  • Build an effective model for private sector landowners, conservation bodies and local businesses to collaborate on these above aims within the landscape.

During this development phase we need to establish an ecological and social baseline, then continued monitoring will help us to measure our project’s success in the future. This is where the Purbeck Natural History Forum comes in, we’d love to get local naturalists involved in baselining and monitoring the species and habitats in the project area. We hope that the opportunity to explore new areas, many of which we currently know very little about, excites you and you get involved in some of our baselining projects this year. Take a look at the Dragonfly and Damselfly Recording, Hedgerow Survey and Peatland Monitoring groups for some of our current opportunities.

To learn more about the Wareham Arc Project, please follow the link to our brand new website Wareham Arc (

The Purbeck Natural History Forum works with a group of partners