Dewlands Common Local Nature Reserve is not only an important remnant of the once expansive range of heaths stretching across south and east Dorset, but has also played a vital role in the history of the local town of Verwood.
The heath would have provided many materials to local workers and craftsmen in times gone by. There are several small shallow scrapes, hollows, ridges and furrows on the heath, evidence of the many uses the common would have been put to: Clay was excavated to provide raw materials for the local pottery trade; gorse, or 'furze', was cut to provide animal fodder and also to fire the pottery kilns; those with common rights turned out their livestock on the heath, allowing them to reserve the better grazing land for fattening their stock; heather would have also been cut to make besom brooms, and heather 'turves' dug to provide fuel for heating the home. There was even a cricket pitch on the common, home to the local team 'the Furze Hackers'!
Since the decline of the local industries, and in particular the pottery trade, Dewlands Common has become less productive; now the common's value lies in the habitat provided for some of Britain's rarest creatures.
Owner: East Dorset District Council
Managed by: East Dorset Countryside Management Service
- Local Nature Reserve
Grid reference: SU 077 081
Nearest town: Verwood
Size (Ha): 12 Ha
Nearest bus stop: Dewlands Way, Wilts and Dorset bus route
Nearest train station: Bournemouth (15 miles)
Habitats: lowland heath with sandy areas
Look out for: all 6 reptile species including the nationally rare Sand Lizard and Smooth Snake, Nightjar and Dartford Warblers, Heath Grasshoppers and Bog Bush Crickets.
Parking: Parking is available at the end of Dewlands Road, but please do not park in front of the gate or obstruct the horse route
Accessibility: some gentle slopes, pathways are un-surfaced and may be narrow and uneven in places. All major paths have accessible kissing gates; less well used access points have squeeze stiles.
Facilities: dog bins at all main entrances to site
How to get there:
From Verwood village centre: Follow Ringwood Road (B3081) to the west, past the recreation ground and Memorial Hall on your right, past the Police and Fire Stations on your left, straight over a roundabout onto Station Road and then first left onto Dewlands Road. This will bring you down to a mini-roundabout, with Dewlands Way to your left (for Dewlands Common North), or continue straight on down an unmade road towards Margards Lane (for Dewlands Common South).
From Three-Legged Cross:Follow signs for Verwood (Manor Road, B3072). Go straight on at the Morrisons roundabout, and about 500m further turn left onto Church Hill (signposted 'schools'). Turn right at the mini roundabout, round a sharp bend to the left, then left onto Dewlands Way. You will see Dewlands Common North on your left, or continue to the mini roundabout and turn left down an unmade road for Dewlands Common South.
Grazing was reintroduced on Dewlands Common and has proved very effective. South Dewlands and North Dewlands has become home to Galloway Cows. The animals are ideally suited to Heathland habitat and enjoy a varied diet and can often be seen munching on gorse, willow, ivy and even holly. When using the site please do not feed the animals. Not only will feeding by humans reduce the effectiveness of the grazing it can also lead to the cattle becoming pushy and intimidating towards humans because they expect food.
There are three permissive horse routes around Dewlands Common which link into the local Bridleway network.
If you would like to find out more about future management plans for Dewlands Common, please contact The Rangers at Moors Valley Country Park.
Name: East Dorset Countryside Management Service
Tel: 01425 470721
Full details for East Dorset Countryside Management Service