Kilwood Nature Reserve
Regenerating woodland over former quarry workings, old hazel coppice with oak standards and a series of pools and meadows make for an interesting array of wildlife.
Much of the site was once an area of clay mining, dating back to Roman times - these areas have been allowed to regenerate naturally after the last of the extraction stopped in the 1970s. The result is a birch and oak woodland, a number of deep ponds and areas of dry, open grassland. Alongside this sit some smaller areas of coppiced woodland with large, open crowned oaks dripping with mosses, lichens and epiphytic ferns, and two damp, unimproved meadows.
The mixture of open and closed woodland and meadow edge make this a good site for foraging bats, with dormice also living within the wood. The series of ponds support both great crested newt and a good range of dragonflies, with 18 species recorded here to date. Flower species are varied, with moschatel and bluebell in the woods, yellow iris at the pond edges and heath spotted orchids, betony and devil's-bit scabious in the grassland. Silver-washed fritillary are regularly seen in high summer from the central track whilst the meadows come alive with the sound of grasshoppers.
Heading south from Wareham on the A351, take the road to the Blue Pool at the Stoborough Green roundabout. The reserve entrance is a few miles on, just after the junction to East Creech. Look for a lay-by to the left just before the entrance gate.
Access and safety
From the entrance, follow the track for about 200m to reach the main reserve with woodland on either side. To the south here amongst the trees are a series of ponds - please take care around the edges which are steep sided and be aware that the ponds contain deep water if going to explore this area. Carry on along the track to pass through the area of former quarry working with its patchy cover of woodland and open glades, and then out onto the meadows. Although there are no formal paths, visitors are free to cross through the meadows to reach the coppice woodland on the other side and from here can link up with the footpath crossing through the wood on the northern edge of the reserve. Please be mindful of the risk of falling branches in or following strong winds and that the ground may be uneven and damp underfoot in both the meadows and the woodland. Away from the paths there are a number of hidden dips and banks in the woodland.
Ponies are used to graze the meadows, and ticks and adders may be present on site. For more information on these general countryside hazards and other aspects of visiting our reserves please see our Visitor Information page.
Species and habitats
Mature and regenerating broadleaved woodland, unimproved rush pasture, ponds.
Bluebell, ramsons, heath spotted-orchid, meadow thistle, dormouse, woodcock, great crested newt, grass snake, marsh tit, willow warbler, silver-washed fritillary, keeled skimmer, meadow and field grasshopper.
Nearby nature reserves
Nature reserve map
Contains derived data © Crown copyright and database right 2012.Ordnance Survey LA100019790.
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