FIFTY visitors will be treated to a rare behind-the-scenes tour of Arne Nature Reserve, as the RSPB celebrates a milestone anniversary at the Purbeck site.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is marking the 50th anniversary of looking after the Arne reserve with a special event on Saturday, September 19.

Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for RSPB in the South West said: “The RSPB Arne team are inviting fifty lucky visitors - one for each year that the RSPB has managed Arne - to join them for a day of celebration.

“Attendees will be treated to a guided walk with exclusive access to parts of the nature reserve typically not open to the public.”

After the guided tour, everyone will be treated to a buffet lunch followed by a talk from RSPB conservation director Martin Harper and a special birthday cake.

Here are eight reasons Arne is so special...

1. There are potentially 50 pairs of Darftford Warblers at Arne.

2. In 1965 there were just 12 pairs of Dartford Warblers in the UK, two of which were at Arne. This triggered the start of the work at the nature reserve

3. There are 25 pairs of Nightjars

4. All six species of reptile can be found at Arne, including the rare smooth snake and sand lizard.

5. 22 species of dragonfly reside in ponds created by WW2 bomb craters dropped by the Germans

6. This year alone they’ve recorded around 450 species of moth

7. Lowland Heath is one of the rarest habitats in the UK which is what makes Arne so special.

8. Around 80% of lowand Heath has been lost in the last 100 years.

Luke Phillips, RSPB Arne Information Officer, said: “We’re really privileged to have been able to look after Arne nature reserve for the last fifty years and we want to celebrate this special occasion with some of the people whose support has enabled us to manage Arne for the last half-a-century – namely, the public.

“We want to give guests a feel for the real Arne and we hope that allowing access to some of Arne’s hidden treasures will be a real treat.”

Booking for the special event, set for 11am-3pm, Saturday, September 19, is essential as places are obviously limited.

Tickets cost £20 per person. Call the RSPB Arne nature Reserve office on 01929 553360.