The Wild House of Snakespell protects Lincolnshire's heathlands and is symbolised by the adder. Often misunderstood, adders are small, quiet, shy creatures that would much rather hide away from people than confront them. When they are found adders are a positive indicator of nature in resurgence. For thousands of years adders have been associated with wisdom and were regarded as a magical creature by the druids.
What is heathland?
Heathland was often the most unproductive land, existing on the edges of civilization. In the medieval period common folk were not allowed to own land but they had special rights to use heathland for grazing livestock and gathering materials like wood and bracken. Because it was left uncultivated heathland also became a wonderful haven for wildlife. For hundreds of years heathland was a place where people and wildlife existed in harmony.
More than 80% of Britain's lowland heaths have been destroyed since the 19th century. Those that are left support many species. Bees buzz around the bulbous blooms of bell heather and more delicate stems of ling heather. Adders and common lizards bask in the sun on bare patches of ground, while metallic green tiger beetles scuttle across sandy soils. In wetter areas, sphagnum mosses form a spongy, sopping layer and sundews glisten in the sun, waiting to ensnare unsuspecting flies.
If you have been chosen to be Snakespell Protector then your role is to raise awareness of heathlands and their importance as refuges for rare wildlife. Tell your friends and family that adders shouldn't be feared and persecuted. Tell them that heathlands are part of our rural heritage and should be protected. Follow the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Facebook page to support nature conservation in Lincolnshire!
Click the image below to download your Snakespell badge!