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Witchampton Habitat Bank, Dorset

Local planning authority (LPA): Dorset Council

National Character Area (NCA): Dorset Downs and Cranborne Chase

Biodiversity Units available:

Very high distinctiveness habitats
  • Lowland meadows
High distinctiveness habitats
  • Other rivers and streams
  • Floodplain wetland mosaic and CFGM
Medium distinctiveness habitats
  • Ditches
  • Mixed scrub
  • Other neutral grassland
  • Species-rich native hedgerow

Our Witchampton Habitat Bank covers 36 hectares of land on a rural estate in Dorset where we are creating and enhancing habitats to support a diverse range of native flora and fauna. The site is a section of land known as the ‘water meadows’ with floodplain grazing marsh running along the River Allen corridor. It is an ideal location to provide a larger and more diverse haven for nature.

Following a thorough assessment of the site's vegetation, wildlife, geology, hydrology, soil chemistry, management history, and landscape connectivity, we determined the best possible habitats to establish and made sure these enhancements would be deliverable. We established an ecological baseline for the site using Defra’s biodiversity metric, so we can clearly demonstrate biodiversity gains over time.  

This assessment enables us to create appropriate habitat types that will ensure robust ecological outcomes while generating biodiversity units. We also offer planning support to make sure our Biodiversity Units provide an effective local BNG delivery solution for developers within the Dorset Council LPA area or Dorset Downs and Cranborne Chase NCA. Our Units are ready to purchase now, subject to availability. 

Adjacent LPAs for cross-boundary coverage:

  • Wiltshire Council
  • Somerset Council
  • East Devon District Council
  • New Forest District Council
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council

Adjacent NCAs for cross-boundary coverage:

  • New Forest
  • Dorset Heaths
  • Yeovil Scarplands
  • Weymouth Lowlands
  • Marshwood and Powerstock Vales
  • Blackmore Vale and Vale of Wardour
  • Sailsbury Plain and West Wiltshire Downs

The Witchampton Habitat Bank lies adjacent to the River Allen, which forms part of the River Stour catchment. The western portion of the site sits strategically within the Dorset ecological network. It also sits within both the Cranbourne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs Areas of Outstanding National Beauty.  

We’re excited to be enhancing and creating priority habitats including coastal and floodplain grazing marsh and lowland meadows. We’re in the process of transforming the existing grassland and arable fields into rich mosaic of wetter meadows with scrapes and ponds, open native mixed scrub and neutral grasslands which will support a diverse mix of species.  

We hope that the new scraps, ponds, increased vegetation cover, and soil health enhancements across the site will reduce surface water runoff and increase the soils water storage capacity. This will make the land more resilient to the effects of climate change.  

The new habitats will support a stunning array of wildflowers and become home to a range of invertebrate species. We hope that the Habitat Bank will provide a fantastic opportunity to support local rare wildlife.

Find out the cost and availability of Biodiversity Units from our Witchampton Habitat Bank