Nature reserve to be created near Blandford to protect rare bat

A new nature reserve is to be created in Dorset to protect a rare species of bat.

Dorset Council bought 13 acres of land near Blandford to create a wildlife corridor for greater horseshoe bats.

The species is one of the rarest in Europe and it is thought there are fewer than 13,000 in the UK.

The council is inviting volunteers to help with planting the farmland which lies next to Milldown Nature Reserve and North Dorset Trailway.

The land purchase was primarily funded through developer contributions, along with funding from Defra, Blandford Forum Town Council and Dorset Council.

Environment councillor Ray Bryan said it was “an excellent opportunity to create much-needed habitat for Dorset’s wildlife, whilst providing more access to the countryside for residents”.

“We are determined to work with partners to promote the recovery of nature and tackle the ecological emergency,” he added.

The greater horseshoe bat is one of the UK’s largest and is found mainly in south-west England and Wales.

Members of the public are invited to the volunteer planting days at 10:00 GMT on 21 and 22 January.

Volunteers should follow signs from Milldown car park and bring sturdy shoes and a spade.

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