The Ant Hill Trail

A wildlife-rich circular walk in West Dorset.

The Ant Hill Trail is a challenging 6 km way-marked route through the scenic landscape around West Milton.

The route links three Nature Reserves; South Poorton, West Milton and Loscombe, passing through species-rich meadows and pastures, across streams and up sunken lanes along the way.

> Download a leaflet showing the route here

Enjoy a landscape rich in wildlife and history

In spring and summer, wildflowers are abundant along the trail.
Foxes, deer, buzzards and rooks are also regularly seen.
Enjoy the stunning views and look out for the signs of how farming has shaped the landscape over the centuries - strip lynchets ('terraces' from medieval ploughing systems), an ancient limekiln and an old coppice once used for hurdle making.

Farming is still the dominant influence in the landscape today - grazing livestock and cutting for hay are essential to maintain the grassland along the trail and the array of species it supports.

And don't forget to look out for the Ant Hills after which gave the trail is named. These are the nests of the yellow meadow ant, and develop over many years - making them an indicator of undisturbed grassland.

The walk

The entire walk takes 3-4 hours; and there is a sign-posted short-cut halfway around.

  • Watch out for the steeper sections as you walk
  • Wear sensible shoes are vital and remember to obey the countryside code:
    • Be safe, plan ahead and follow any signs
    • Leave gates and property as you find them
    • Protect plants and animals and take your litter home
    • Keep dogs under close control
    • Consider other people
  • Please be sure to check yourself for ticks after the walk.

The Ant Hill trail has been developed by Dorset Wildlife Trust, The Grasslands Trust and The Kingcombe Centre, with the support of the local landowners whose land you will cross.

If you have any questions or comments about the walk, or would like to help monitor the walk, please contact

South Poorton

South Poorton Reserve

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