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Studland Heath National Nature Reserve

A long sandy beach, extensive sand dunes, dry heath, damp woodland and large inland lake; what more do you want? 


Studland Heath National Nature Reserve: the bare essentials

Post date: Sunday, 14 December, 2014 - 00:00

Pretty inhospitable in winter but a delight in spring and summer, especially the brilliant yellow of the gorse in the spring and the lovely purple of the bell heather in late summer. Studland is a classic site of sand dune succession with various stages of the sand dune system clearly visible.

My records for this site also include sightings from the off shore area in Studland and Shell bay which is a wintering haven for rare grebes and divers. A walk along Studland Beech is a popular way of spending a Sunday afternoon although most people will miss the birds bobbing up and down on the waves not far out to sea.

The heathland behind the beach is classic Dorset heath with all six British reptiles present as well as heathland specialist birds (Dartford warbler, nightjar, hobby, etc) and lots of insects and plants. A very large lake lies in the midst of this (called Little Sea) and in winter this a very popular feeding place for wildowl and geese. There is a hide on the eastern shore. There is also some very plesant damp woodland, something for everyone!

Studland gets very busy in summer because it has such a famous beach which is popular with bathers. As well as naturalists on the sandy dunes behind the beach you may encounter naturists too! Parking is free for National Trust members but there is a charge for non-members.


The information about this site has been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Fact File Visiting Aerial View Some Charts Some Photographs Species List Species Gallery Recent Records Guidance Notes