Clubs and Leisure Activities,West Moors Station
The Camp has a fitness suite, weights room, sauna, sports pitches, Squash court and running routes.
Places of Interest
Please refer also to the advertisements in this Guide. Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, Blandford Forum, Beaulieu, Longleat, Corfe Castle and many other places of equal interest are in this area. The Hampshire, Dorset and Devon coastlines from the Isle of Wight to Exmouth, including such places as Swanage, Sidmouth, Bridport, Lyme Regis and Weymouth are all within easy striking distance.
Locally to West Moors is the Moors Valley Park, which draws people from afar. It is a large park with special children’s trails. Bike hire. Mini train rides and much more. Bournemouth and Poole are both very close and well worth exploring. Staplehill Abbey near Ferndown is a craft centre come farm museum plus it has a children’s farmyard and ornamental gardens with picnic areas. Wimborne is a very picturesque market town and its weekend market is well worth a visit.
A brochure of the Bournemouth area, giving you very full details of places of interest and entertainment, may be obtained direct from the Publicity Department and Official Information Bureau, Westover Road, Bournemouth BH1 2BU at a small charge (telephone number Bournemouth (01202) 291715). This brochure is excellent value and contains a great deal of useful and relevant information including maps of the area.
Bus timetables are available free of charge from any office of Wilts and Dorset Bus Services. These detail all services in the area which families may wish to use to reach the amenities available. The nearest railway station for West Moors is Bournemouth – ten miles distant and some 20-25 minutes away by road.
Wildlife at West Moors
The Petroleum Depot is situated in typical acid heathland. A large percentage of the Depot has remained untouched and therefore contains much of the flora and fauna associated with this type of habitat.
The flowering plants that give the heathland its name are of course the heathers, of which there are 3 varieties present, Bell Heather, Common Heather (Ling) and Cross-leaved Heather. Other typically heathland plants which occur are, Gorse, Dwarf Gorse, Scots Pine, Birch and a variety of grasses, rushes and sedges, including the very rare, Brown Beaked Sedge. Also included in the 190 species of plants are rarities such as Marsh Gentian, Sticky Groundsel, Allseed, Coral Necklace and 7 species of orchid.
In the wetter areas are large patches of mosses including the typical heathland Sphagnum Moss which gives rise to the acidity in the soil. Also occurring in these damp areas, are the carnivorous plants, Sundews.
This variety provides the food chain for many different animals, also typical of heathlands. Classified by legs, they are as follows:
No Legs. Snakes are fairly common, with the Adder and Grass Snake most often seen. The presence of the very rare Smooth Snake has yet to be confirmed. Slow Worms are also common but these are really legless lizards, related to the Common and Sand Lizards which are also abundant.
Two Legs. Nearly 100 species of bird have been recorded in the West Moors Camp, about 60 of which breed regularly. Included in this list are such rarities as Dartford Warbler, Nightjar and Woodlark. In fact, West Moors has one of the highest population densities of Woodlark in Dorset.
Four Legs. The larger mammals do not exist in any great numbers, apart from the rabbits. There are, however, a few pairs of badger, deer, fox and weasel. Mice and voles have also been observed but there has been no survey to ascertain species or numbers.
Six Legs. Of the insects, the butterflies and dragonflies are probably the most significant. Of the 28 species of butterflies recorded over the years, the uncommon Silver-studded Blue is the most interesting, as it abounds in numbers, ten times higher than any other similar heathland site in Dorset.
The large number and variety of water sources, mainly acidic, provide breeding grounds for the 22 species of dragonflies observed so far. Several of these are either rare or uncommon and include the Scarce Blue-tailed, the Red-eyed and the Small Red damselflies.
The moths, grasshoppers, bees, wasps, flies etc have not yet been surveyed in any great detail.
Eight or More Legs. There are many species of spiders and other creepy-crawlies which also require investigation. It is known, however, that the largest British species of spider, the Swamp Raft Spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus), does occur on the Depot.
Because of this wealth of wildlife, which represents part of the rapidly disappearing heathland with its flora and fauna, a section of RLC West Moors has been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).