One look my the photographs of Canford Heath is enough to demonstrate just what a hostile habitat heathland is for plants. A sandy substrate which drains easily on higher ground and a hard clay layer below meaning lower ground quickly waterlogs. Few plants can survive in such extreme conditions.
We associate heathland with heather, gorse and silver birch and these certainly do thrive in such geological conditions and are the dominant species on the dryer areas Canford Heath. In the marshy areas rushes and sedges abound along with some special bog species such as the sundews and butterwort.
Although within Poole, Canford Heath covers quite a large area and packs a variety habitat into that area. It escaped being developed when Poole expanded after the war because the terrain is either very uneven in the higher regions or very damp in the lower regions; not suited to building at all.
Despite being surrounded by housing it is a fruitful reserve and home to other less seen species such as sand lizard, smooth snake and Dartford warbler. Once part of the Canford Estate the majority of Canford Heath is now owned by the Borough of Poole, the rest is owned by W H White and part of the Beale family. Poole Borough Council manages its own land and nearly all of the land owned by W H White for the benefit of wildlife and public recreation. Sadly, it can be a target for arsonists and wild fires do happen here from time to time, usually started deliberately. However, the battle to conserve this special area continues unabated through the Urban Heaths Partnership.