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New Lytchett Bay Path Opens

 

Last month we announced that we had been working closely with the Dorset RSPB team on opening up access to a small area of land they currently manage for a private landowner. The site is situated on the western edge of Lytchett Bay, and is a predominantly a sea/fresh water wet grassland habitat with a mixture of muddy pools, reedbed and saltmarsh.

RSPB ‘Lytchett Fields’ as it will now be called has been managed by the RSPB for around ten years, but due to a recent change in the habitat structure the area has become more productive than ever before, seeing big numbers of birds using the site, including an incredible 28 species of wader in 2014 alone. You can read the full Lytchett Bay report 2014 HERE

The project was made successful due to strong organisational partnerships between, Birds of Poole Harbour, RSPB and the landowner and it’s with this common interest that we now see this ‘quite little corner’ of Poole Harbour opened up to the public.

Lytchett Fields is a special but sensitive site, so the access has been granted as a trial period to see how people use the site and how the wildlife reacts. It is by no-means a ‘nature reserve’ full of paths and places to wander, but is in fact a singular footpath leading down to two separate viewpoints which we have named ‘ French’s Viewpoint and Sherford Viewpoint. From these viewpoints you will be able stand and gaze over the wet fields, which fill with water on every high tide, and then drain away on the low tide. We must be clear from the start that there is strictly no access beyond the viewpoints as this greatly increases the risk of disturbing birds. It’s also worth noting that approaching the viewpoints as slowly and quietly as possible is advisable, as this will reduce disturbance too. Wellies are a must in the winter and spring!

The area holds interest right the way through the year, but March – October can be particularly rewarding. The last few years has seen Lytchett Fields become the best place in Poole Harbour to see Wood Sandpiper, Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper during autumn passage, whilst the odd rarity has been known to occur too with Black-winged Stilt and Pectoral Sandpiper recorded in 2014. The site isn’t just good for waders, but also for passerines too. Migrants such as Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, Whinchat, Reed and Sedge Warblers are all annual and birds of prey such as Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier and peregrine can all be seen in the winter months.

 

Directions

In conjunction with the opening of this site, a group of partners have created a PDF leaflet which advises on how to bird watch the whole of Lytchett Bay which you can FIND HERE.

However, here are some more detailed directions to the newly opened RSPB ‘Lytchett Fields’.

1)    Park in the Upton recreation ground car park on Seaview Road

2)    Walk down Slough Lane (DO NOT DRIVE DOWN, THERE IS NO PARKING) until you reach a metal gate crossing the lane. NB – Take time to view ‘Lytchett Pools’ on your left

3)    Take the right hand path at that metal gate and continue until the path bares round to the left where you will then walk past a metal gate on your left

4)    Continue walking until you reach another metal gate on your left

5)    Pass this metal gate and walk for around 50m where you will see a newly installed wooden bridge on your left with a ladder type style.

6)    Cross the bridge and walk in a straight line (parallel with the dual carriage way) until you see another new bridge over the ditch.


 
7)    Cross the bridge and turn right and follow the line of gorse until you see the two new viewing areas French’s viewpoint and Sherford viewpoint.

 As stated above, please approach both viewpoints quietly and slowly

 

Due to the very wet nature of the site, the path is very rough and may not be accessible to all.

 

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