One of the largest natural harbours in the world, supporting 5% of UK's reed beds, grazing marshes, salt marshes and mud flats.

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  • Owned/managed by: Private charity ownership
  • Grid reference: SZ895895
  • Location: Wareham
  • Access information: Parking in Wareham, Arne and Studland. 
    Train from Wareham
    Buses from Sandbanks and Poole
    Boat cruises from Poole Quay
  • What can I see there? 30,000 wintering waterfowl, autumn - spring
  • Best time to visit: All year
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  • Abbotsbury Swannery/Chesil Beach

    Sanctuary for mute swans originally established by Benedictine monks in the fourteenth century, an ancient site sheltered by Chesil Beach.

  • Allington Hill & Coopers Wood

    Mainly broadleaved area of woodland totalling 17.68 ha (43.69 acres).

  • Arne

    Nature reserve with lowland heath. Salt marshes lead to Poole Harbour mudflats.

  • Ballard Down & Old Harry

    Old-Harry credit Gillian Thomas Chalk headland with stacks and dramatic cliffs. Ballard Down offers fantastic views of the Dorset heaths, Poole Harbour and Old Harry Rocks.

  • Beningfield Wood

    Mainly young woodland, good views, grassland. 8.43 ha (20.83 acres).

  • Bracketts Coppice

    Broad leaved Woodland, High forest and Coppice with standards, herb rich neutral/acid grassland. (56 acres).

  • Brownsea Island

    A tranquil island in Poole Harbour with spectacular views.

  • Coombe Heath

    Nature reserve with wet heathland, dry heath and wet woodland.

  • Corfe Castle Common

    Dorset's largest working common, spectacular views of Corfe Castle.

  • Durlston Country Park

    Superb area of coastal grassland and seacliffs, one of the best places in Britain for watching birds and wildlife.

  • Ferrybridge

    Saline lagoon (The Fleet), shingle beach (Chesil) view of Portland Harbour.

  • Girdlers Coppice & Piddles Wood

    Hazel coppice with oak standards, grassy rides, flood plain meadows.

  • Godlingston

    National Nature Reserve.

  • Golden Cap

    Golden-Gap_credit Ian Dalgleish Golden Cap is the highest point on the Jurassic Coast at 191 metres and gets its name from a distinctive yellow sandstone. ...

  • Greenhill Down

    Chalk grassland and coppice woodland with a good range of flora and fauna.

  • Hambledon Hill

    View from Hambledon-Hill credit G&S SnelgroveNational Nature Reserve within an impressive hillfort. Chalk grassland with areas of mixed scrub.

  • Hartland Moor

    Lowland heath and mire, National Nature Reserve, extensively grazed by cattle and ponies. Adjoining farmland is being gradually restored to heath.

  • Haydon Hill

    Chalk downland slope, 10 hectares (25 acres)

  • Hod Hill

    Extensive Iron Age hillfort with Roman Fort in one corner. Chalk downland.

  • Kingcombe Meadows

    Ancient meadows, scrub, woodland, bog habitats and hedgerows.

  • King’s Wood

    Ancient broadleaf woodland on north side of Purbeck Ridge.

  • Little Giant Wood

    Mainly broadleaved woodland, 4.31 hectares (10.65 acres) .

  • Lodmoor Nature Reserve

    Predominantly a grassland and saltmarsh habitat, with small reed beds and scrub areas at either side.

  • Loscombe

    National Nature Reserve. Steeply sloping neutral pasture, hedgerows, sunken lane, stream and small wetland area.

  • Lulworth Cove/Heritage Centre

    Stunning Heritage Coast with cliffs and chalk download. Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is internationally renowned for its coastal scenery, geology and geomorphology.

  • Muckleford Chalk Pit

    Disused chalk pit.

  • Nunnery Mead

    An attractive area of previously managed water meadows.

  • Poole Harbour

    One of the largest natural harbours in the world, supporting 5% of UK's reed beds, grazing marshes, salt marshes and mud flats.

  • Powerstock Common

    Ancient and semi-natural woodland, unimproved and restored pasture, mixed scrub and plantation woodland, ponds. Old brick kiln.

  • Pucketts Wood

    Mainly broadleaved woodland.

  • Purbeck Marine Nature Reserve

    An accessible rocky shore with rich marine life. Marine Centre contains displays and aquaria.

  • Radipole Lake

    Large reedbed, open water, flood meadows and scrub attracting a good range of birds all year.

  • Stonehill Down

    Reserve on Purbeck ridge with chalk downland, scrub and woodland. Good view of Poole Harbour.

  • Studland

    National Nature Reserve of dune, heath, woodland and wetland fringed with miles of sandy beach, a section of which is for naturists. Bird hides overlook Little Sea.

  • Townsend

    Limestone grass reserve on a former quarried landscape.

  • West Bexington

    Excellent example shingle beach on Chesil Bank, reedbed, wet meadow and scrub.

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