Townsend Reserve

Townsend - T BatesSize: 13ha.

An area of limestone grassland, rich in wildflowers & butterflies, & set high above Swanage Bay enjoying splendid views, on the site of old limestone quarries.  The ground has settled to form a very uneven landscape of mounds & hollows.

Wildlife interest:

  • Spring & summer flowers include early spider orchid, bastard-toadflax, kidney vetch & yellow rattle.
  • Marbled white & common blue butterflies seen, with speckled woods in the scrubby margins. 
  •  Great green bush crickets, long-winged cone heads & yellow meadow ants are among the insect species found.
  • Slow-worms & adders are occasionally seen, along with badgers, foxes, roe deer.

Townsend reserveBest time to visit:

Late spring to mid-summer for the show of wildflowers.


Sloping & uneven ground.


Map ref. SZ 024782.  Coming into Swanage on the A351, take the first right on the bend.  Take the first right after Spar shop then left, then right onto Panorama road.  Carry on up the hill, the reserve is on the left hand side.  Roadside parking.

Townsend map


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