Wildlife in Dorset
You are never far from some special wildlife in Dorset. With everything from bluebells to barn owls, otters to orchids and deer to dolphins, it's no surprise that the Dorset AONB is often considered to be the wildlife capital of the UK. While some wildlife in Dorset is easy to see, you may need to be patient to spot some of the rarer or more shy species.
Dorset's nature reserves can be great places to start your search and you can see from our wildlife map that we have a great selection of National Nature Reserves, local nature reserves and visitor centres for you visit.
To help you make the most of the truly amazing variety of wildlife that Dorset offers, many organsiations offer walks, talks and activities throughout the year which you can see in our events listings.
Spring is the time for birds like the puffin return to Dorset to breed. In the fields, hares have boxing matches as females fend off over-friendly males! Woodlands come alive with bird song, bluebells and other spring flowers.
The Autumn sees deer particularly active and can be easy to spot. Fruits and berries abound, providing important food supplies for dormice, squirrels and birds. Woodlandsbecome a mass of colour as leaves turn red and golden yellow and fungi spring up on the woodland floor.
Winter is a quiet time for some wildlife who go into hibernation, sleeping through the worst of the weather. But head to the coastand you'll be amazed at the huge flocks of wildfowl and wading birds massing together.
There's lots of organisations who we work with, working together for wildlife. Here are just a few:
Natural England: managing 12 National Nature Reserves in Dorset
Dorset Wildlife Trust: owns and manages many reserves, visitor centres and wildlife projects
National Trust: owns and manages some iconic sites across Dorset
Dorset Countryside: employ a skilled team of wardens who manage sites and rights of way across Dorset