The Nature Reserves and Wildlife Hot-spots of Dorset

My guide to the best places in Dorset to see its wildlife and natural beauty

Dorset is a wonderfully diverse county and there are a substantial number of nature reserves here designated from National Nature Reserves down to Local Nature Reserves. These are obviously prime targets for nature enthusiasts to visit but there are a good number of other non-protected sites good for nature watching; 'hot-spots' if you like!

In the time I have lived here I have tried to visit as many of these lovely places as I can and I have compiled this directory of them giving for each a description, a photographic tour, a species list, details on how to find it (both by map, written directions and sat-nav co-ordinates,) other places to visit nearby and even a risk assessment especially for less mobile people who want to know what they are letting themselves in for if they visit. There is also information  about habitat types that can be found and links to any Site of Special Scientific designations that apply to the site.

My aim is try and help you choose the best places to go, to let you know what to expect when you get there and then how to find it. I hope you find it useful!


Click/tap your selection to move to the next level down:

Map of Reserves

Map of Dorset with the nature reserves and hot-spots I have found marked on it

Reserves Index

Know the name of the place you are looking? Use the alphabetical index to find the information about it.

Managers of Reserves

View the nature reserves and wild places managed by a particular organisation, authority or estate.


There are three options for locating available nature reserves and key wildlife hot-spots in Dorset:

  • Use the map if you are looking for a place to visit in a specific area of Dorset
  • Use the alphabetical index if you are looking for a specific place that you know the name of
  • Use the manager guide if you want to see the reserves and other sites managed by a particular organisation or body (eg: RSPB, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Dorset County Council and so on) 

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