I FIND that nearly all the wildlife sites in Bournemouth and Poole over the last 40 years have vanished.

If you walked the undeveloped sites in Poole council's control forty years ago you would see an abundance of life so rare that the stories about them made their way into the national press and into Europe.

Dartford warblers and sand lizards in abundance.

Poole had at one time one of the largest Dartford warbler colonies in the British Isles.

The rare life spoke of required heathland and sandy soils for its survival, but the heathland was called 'waste land' by developers, and the council's response was that 'people have to live somewhere'.

And in that manner the rare sites were dug up and developed not to house people but to make the developers so rich most of them left and retired to the south of France or Spain with their families to escape our lousy climate.

And that is how we lost our local heathland and its rare wildlife.


Former species protection officer with the Herpetological Conservation Trust Fraser Road, Poole