A DONATION of £5,000 has secured a £5m project to provide wildlife-rich habitat for rare and threatened species in Dorset.

Haskins Garden Centres handed the money to Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), bringing the total local funds raised to £2m and enabling them to secure the full £2.7m offered by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The trust’s Great Heath Living Landscape project will protect and manage land which provides wildlife-rich habitat for rare and threatened species, including the Dartford Warbler and all six UK reptiles, such as the nationally rare smooth snake and sand lizard, which are both found on Dorset heathland.

Warren Haskins, chairman of Haskins Garden Centres Ltd, which has a branch in Ferndown, said: “As a child living in the region I explored many of the local heaths and woodland and enjoyed the variety of wildlife to be seen.

“I’m delighted that these areas are now to be protected by the trust.”

The trust and partners have now bought nearly 1,500 acres of wildlife-rich land in east Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The next phase of the project will create an enhanced access network across the whole area and will deliver thousands of opportunities for people to learn about, enjoy and help to conserve their natural heritage.

Events and volunteering activities to get local people involved with wildlife conservation in the area will be organised.

The Great Heath Living Landscape Project still needs funds for associated projects to enable long-term management of the sites, such as improving access, management of the land and site interpretation.

In order to donate to the project, and find out any further information, please go to the website at www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/tgh.