Dorset Countryside & Nature

Dorset is delicious, the food, the coast and the countryside.  The former chief news correspondent Kate Adie described Dorset: “I love lumpy countryside hills and water – and unexpected views, which is what I love about Dorset.”

The countryside of Dorset is unlike any other county.  Its unique geography and countryside has resulted in an exceptionally varied landscape.  The coastline has been awarded World Heritage Site Status and most of the County is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Unusually most of the County has avoided large scale development and Dorset remains the only County without a motorway – so if you are looking for peace and quiet, superior weather,  beautiful scenery and a laid back pace of life – Dorset has to be your number one choice.

Durlston Country Park

Durlston Country Park in Swanage

A 280 acre paradise of sea cliffs, coastal limestone downland, meadows, hedgerows and woods.

Durlston Country Park, National Nature Reserve and Castle is a mile from Swanage in Dorset. This countryside paradise has stupendous views, the Great Globe, a variety of walks and fascinating geology – there’s always something new to see and do.

This superb site is owned and managed by Dorset County Council, and is a favoured spot for dolphin, whale and seal watching.

The Blue Pool

blue poole wareham

Opening Times

2015 Opening – Grounds open 1st March to 30th November(01/03/2015 – 30/11/2015)

Shop, Tea House, Museum and Plant Centre open from Easter – end October.

Grounds open 1st March – 30th November.

Prices

Ticket TypeTicket Tariff
Adult£5.50 per ticket
Child 5 – 14£4.00 per ticket
Family 2 adults 4 children£15.00 per ticket
Seniors/Concs£4.80 per ticket
Under 5’sFree
Wheelchair usersFree

 

Jurassic Safari

Jurassic Safari

Sit back and relax on a Land Rover Safari. You will be taken beaten tracks for a taste of Dorset’s secret beauty in the style and safety of the world’s leading 4×4. The carefully chosen routes include unspoilt country lanes, ancient byways and deep river crossings that are hidden and inaccessible to most people.

There are a variety of different safari routes to choose from:
Isle of Portland Safari – (4 people min) – Lasts 2 hrs at £28.00 / Person
Hardy Country Safari (May – Sept) – Lasts 4 hrs (Central Dorset) at £55.00 / Person
Golden Cap Safari – Lasts 4 hrs (West Dorset) at £55.00 / person
Purbeck Hills Safari ~ BEST SELLER – Lasts 4 hrs (East Dorset) at £58.00 / Person
South Dorset Safari – (4 people min) – Lasts 6-7 hrs at £80.00 / Person

Brownsea IslandBrownsea Island

Brownsea Island is located in Poole Harbour, with spectacular views across to the Purbeck Hills. The island has a heathland block at the centre, with flora including bell and ling heather. The heather comes into flower from late July onwards, producing a glorious carpet of purple and pink flowers.

Look out for the rare red squirrel and a wide variety of birds, including dunlin, kingfishers, common and sandwich terns and oystercatchers.

Stanpit Marsh and Nature ReserveStanpit Marsh Nature Reserve

Stanpit Marsh covers nearly 130 acres of low lying land. Due to its position the Marsh attracts many varied and often rare species of birds.

Stanpit Marsh boasts one of the few remaining and the oldest WW II Bailey bridges. Other areas of the Marsh have been reclaimed for a golf course but otherwise Stanpit Marsh has been left to itself. In the past, the northern end of Stanpit Marsh was used as a rubbish dump and the area has been utilised by the military in both world wars as a testing ground and exercise area.

There is a free car park at the northern end of the marsh which is about 50 yards east of The Ship In Distress Public house in Stanpit village.

Moors Valley Nature ParkMoors Valley

Lovely day out and you only pay for the car park. A woodland walk with themed climbing adventures; a mini steam railway that is open through the season and an excellent outdoor sandy play area.

At Moors Valley there are many miles of paths and tracks through Moors Valley Country Park and Forest. You are welcome to adventure through any of these paths, although the best routes have been way-marked  for you.

Some areas welcome pets. Why not bring a picnic or enjoy the on site café.

Steamer Point Nature ReserveSteamer Point Nature Reserve

Steamer Point is a 24 acre cliff top designated local nature reserve (LNR) that is situated between Highcliffe Castle and Friar’s Cliff. It consists of woodland and aquatic habitats and also supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. The site was formerly declared as a LNR and awarded a Green Flag by the Civic Trust in 2005.

Steamer Point is more than just an excellent home for wildlife, it is also full of hidden artistic surprises and beautiful views.

Badbury RingsBadbury Rings

Badbury Rings is a high point in the local landscape and provides excellent views in all directions. It was used as a main cross roads for the Roman empire. You can take a number of relatively easy walks from the site which are all signposted from the carpark.

Badbury Rings is now part of the Kingston Lacy estate, formerly owned by the Bankes family, now owned by The National Trust. Kingston Lacy can be found south of the Rings on the road towards Wimborne.

Shipstal BeachRSPB Arne Nature Reserve

The RSPB Arne Nature Reserve overlooks Poole Harbour where you can watch thousands of wading birds, ducks and geese including avocets, black-tailed godwits and brent geese in winter. In summer look out for Dartford warblers nesting in the heather, nightjars flying at dusk and as many as 22 species of colourful dragonflies.

RSPB staff organise a range of guided walks and events to help you see some of the most exciting species.

There is a lot to see at any time of year, with beautiful views across Poole Harbour and the Purbeck Hills.

Lulworth CoveLulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove was formed approximately 10,000 years ago by the combined forces of the sea and a river swollen by melting ice at the end of the last Ice Age. The Steps at the east end of the beach lead to the Fossil Forest and Mupe Bay with a stunning walk along the cliff top – this footpath is within the MoD restricted area and is only open on weekends and during the whole of August.

Why not stop  and visit the Heritage Centre next to the car park for all kinds of information about the area and the Jurassic Coast.

A motor boat service from the beach can take you on a trip to Durdle Door or Mupe Bay by sea, from where you will have the best view of this spectacular coastline.

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