Area: 36.15 hectares.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
This site comprises the Public Open Spaces of both Turbary Common and the nearby Kinson Common, which overlay the acidic deposits of Plateau gravels and Bagshot Beds. The richness of these relic heathland communities, both in terms of their vegetation and associated fauna, is made even more significant by their urban location.
Characteristic of the Bournemouth and Poole areas, the heathland of the higher ground and dry slopes is dominated by heather Calluna vulgaris and western gorse Ulex gallii; also present are bell heather Erica cinerea and bristle bent Agrostis curtisii, this being especially abundant in areas of frequent accidental burning. On the lower lying ground there is humid and wet heath which is largely dominated by purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea with cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix, together with varying amounts of heather and deergrass Trichophorum cespitosum. Impeded drainage and peat accumulation within the valley bottoms of both Turbary and Kinson Commons have led to the development of valley mire systems with their associated bog communities. These areas hold a rich bog flora with frequent oblong- and round-leaved sundew Drosera intermedia and D. rotundifolia, bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum and white beak-sedge Rhynchospora alba; also present is the uncommon pale butterwort Pinguicula lusitanica. Bog mosses Sphagnum spp. including S. cuspidatum and S. papillosum, are frequent throughout these areas. Shallow bog pools contain common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium and bog pondweed Potamogeton polygonifolius. Drier parts of the bog contain tussocks of purple moor-grass, and within the northern section of the Kinson mire system, nutrient enrichment and siltation give rise to swamp conditions with bulrush Typha latifolia, hemlock water-dropwort Oenanthe crocata and rush Juncus species.
Areas of dense scrub vegetation with much common gorse Ulex europaeus and bramble Rubus fruticosus are common on both areas of heathland, with willow Salix species a frequent component on Turbary Common. Fringing the streams, bog and wet heath are areas of willow carr, with much birch Betula spp. and pedunculate oak Quercus robur within the wet woodland of Kinson Common.
The fauna of the site reflects the range of habitats present. The dry heathland of Turbary Common supports a breeding population of the rare and protected Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis, and the smooth snake Coronella austriaca is also known to occur here. The invertebrates of Kinson Common have been well recorded, with many of these being present also on Turbary Common. Of the 18 species of dragonfly noted, 15 of these are known to breed, including scarce ishnura Ischnura pumilio and small red damselfly Ceriagrion tenellum, both species of very restricted occurrence. The damper areas have good populations of the local bog bush cricket Metrioptera brachyptera, with the rarer long-winged conehead Conocephalus discolor found in slightly drier conditions. Other nationally scarce heathland insects present include silver-studded blue butterfly Plebejus argus and swamp spider Dolomedes fimbriatus.