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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

05 July, 2010

Bell Heather (Erica cineria)

The soil under the Dorset heathland is very sandy; that is to say, made up of large granules rather than the finer grains fond in clay or loam soils.

As a result of this granular soil plants find it difficult to get a 'root hold'. Any nutrients get easily washed through the sand by rain as well. It makes it a very difficult environment for plants to grow in.

The prime type of plants that are well able to cope with this hostile environment are the heathers.

The Bell Heather is just coming out and in August the Purbeck heaths will be the most amazing colour purple emanating from the masses of this plant and it's related species.

Bell Heather is the most common of the heathers and tends to dominate the drier areas of the heath and can be told from the other species by this very dark pink or even purple colouring.