ILLEGAL fly-tipping is damaging the home of the Island's rare hazel dormice and red squirrels.

Briddlesford Woods is a precious nature reserve but incidents of people dumping rubbish there — just up the road from Lynnbottom Tip — is on the increase.

Briddlesford is home to a number of rare species, including hazel dormice and red squirrels, who thrive in the ancient semi-natural woodland.

Wildlife charity People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), which has owned Briddlesford Woods since 1992, warned that fly-tipping at Lynn Common is damaging precious flora and fauna across the nature reserve.

Now, the charity is calling for anyone who sees rubbish being dumped at Lynn Common or in any part of Briddlesford Woods to report the vehicle(s) involved to the Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire Police (via 101) or to PTES directly via

Laura Bower, PTES conservation officer, said: “Briddlesford is a unique woodland. Not only is it one of the few places in the UK where both hazel dormice and red squirrels (classified as Vulnerable and Endangered on the Red List for Britain’s Mammals earlier this year) can be found, but it’s also home to two rare species of bat, barbastelles (also listed as vulnerable) and Bechstein’s.

“Briddlesford is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area for Conservation, which gives it the highest legal protection.

"But sadly, this doesn’t prevent fly-tipping from happening. We’ve been working tirelessly over the last 20 years to maintain this special habitat so that local flora and fauna can flourish.

"Our conservation work will be undone if fly-tipping continues, so we are urging this to stop, for waste to be disposed of correctly and for any incidents to be reported.

“On top of the damage caused to our beautiful woodland, we also have to pay for the rubbish to be removed, which is a cost to the charity that should be spent on much-needed conservation.”

Here are a few reasons why Briddlesford is special:

Briddlesford is a key stronghold for a stable population of hazel dormice, whose populations have declined by more than 50 per cent nationally since 2000.

Red squirrels are only found at a few sites across the UK, including Briddlesford. Nationally, their populations have been steadily declining since the introduction of grey squirrels.

In 2006, 5,000 native trees were planted, grown from seed collected in Briddlesford.

A total of 14 ponds have been created, providing drinking water for the cattle that graze the site, as well as other mammals and birds. These ponds are also a key breeding site for dragonflies and various amphibians.

Narrow-leaved lungwort — a woodland plant only found in ancient British woodlands on the shores and tributaries of the Solent — grows in abundance there.

A long-rotation (15 to 20 years) of hazel coppice ensures the hazel dormice and red squirrels have a steady supply of hazelnuts.

Light reaches the woodland floor through a network of rides (paths through the woodland) and glades, benefitting wildflowers, butterflies and numerous invertebrates.

To report any incidents of fly-tipping in the woods, contact the Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire Police (via 101) or PTES directly via