Tourism in Studland Bay Nature Reserve - case study

Studland Bay is a popular tourist destination in the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. It can be accessed by ferry from the desirable area of Sandbanks in Poole during the summer and is only a few minutes drive from the resort of Swanage.

Studland Bay is an example of a place where conflict can occur between interest groups.

The issues

  • Areas such as this are home to rare species of plants and birds.
  • The nature reserve is an area of sand dunes. These are dynamic, but often unstable and vulnerable environments.
  • The area is attractive to tourists because of the dunes and the wide, sandy beach. The beach can get very crowded in summer months.
  • Visitors need somewhere to park and also demand other facilities, such as paths and public toilets.
  • Tourists bring their problems such as litter and fire hazards (caused by barbecues and cigarette ends).

How is the area managed?

  • Vulnerable areas and areas recently planted with marram grass (which is used to stabilise the dunes) are fenced off to limit access and damage.
  • Boardwalks have been laid through the dunes to focus tourists onto specific paths.
  • Car parks have been provided and people are not permitted to drive onto the beach.
  • Fire beaters are positioned within the dune area in case of a fire.
  • Facilities including a shop, café, toilets and litter bins are provided near the car parks to focus tourists into one area.
  • Information boards educate visitors about the environment and how they can help to protect it.
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