Slepe Heath

An area of heathland, until recently conifer plantation, where the National Trust are now engaged in habitat restoration.  

slepe heath

When we moved to Dorset in 2006 Slepe Heath was covered by a conifer plantation and was not worth visiting. Not long after our arrival it was acquired by the National Trust and the conifers were removed and restoration to heathland habitat was soon underway. Now this is one of the main sites in Purbeck for many scarce heathland specialist insects including the heath tiger beetle , the heath bee-fly and the heath sand wasp. There are more significant animals and plants here too many of which the casual visitor will never see but they all add up to making Slepe Heath a bit special.

From the casual visitors perspective, as opposed to the dedicated naturalist, it is a bleak, unforgiving landscape with the paths on the higher ground barely recognisable in places and soft, sandy and difficult in others. That said, the main path across the area is quite reasonable for most walkers. 

Whilst dry heath on higher ground as the ground slopes down towards Hartland Moor to the south it becomes boggy and specialist plants can be found here including a good display of bog asphodel. I suspect, but I have never found them, there are marsh gentian here too. The path through here has a good number of round-leaved sundew.

Mid-summer is the best time to visit Slepe Heath unless you are keen on birds when winter can produce an interesting array of visitors including merlin and, occasionally, short-eared owl.

Site Name Slepe Heath
Protection National Trust
Interest
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Diversity
Map Reference SY 962856
County Dorset
SSSI
Website
Site Habitats
Habitat Relationship
H1: Dry Heath

Foundation

H3: Wet Heath

Minority

Sites Photos

The small pond by the western entrance

Photo Date
17-06-20

Much of the area is pretty inaccessible to the average walker

Photo Date
17-06-20

To the southern edge where the land is lower it becomes wet heath verging on bog

Photo Date
17-06-20

The nationally scarce yellow bartsia can be found here

Photo Date
17-06-20

To the north there are views over Poole harbour

Photo Date
17-06-20

In spring there is a wonderful display of gorse

Photo Date
14-04-17

Although the extensive conifer have been removed some have been left standing for use by warious species of bird including tree pipit

Photo Date
21-06-13

The soil on the high ground is very sandy; difficult walking but ideal for some species of wildlife

Photo Date
21-06-13

On the lower ground it becomes very boggy

Photo Date
21-06-13

To the south you look out over Hartland Moor towards Corfe CAstle

Photo Date
21-06-13
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes
17-06-20

Sunny again with white fluffy clouds and quite warm

  • The nationally scarce yellow bartsia in flower; a dozen or so plants
  • Keeled skimmer on the pond but otherwise few insects about
  • Still some orchids in flower and sundew in the more damp areas
07-07-19

There is no information about this visit

18-04-19

There is no information about this visit

17-09-18

There is no information about this visit

14-05-17

There is no information about this visit