Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve
A haven of peaceful green meadows, hedgerows and woodland, this reserve offers a chance to experience some fabulous wildlife right in the middle of town.
Lorton Meadows are a collection of unimproved fields enclosed by thick hedgerows and small copses nestling in the Lorton Valley, just a stones’ throw from the residential areas of Littlemoor, Upwey and Weymouth. As well as colourful, and some quite rare, wildflowers the reserve is particularly good for birds of hedgerow, scrub and grassland, and provides excellent foraging and flight lines for bats. The meadows and hedgerows are full of insect life, with butterflies, moths, bugs, beetles, dragonflies and grasshoppers all to be found on a sunny summers day. Explore the reserve on one of our many trails, or make your own way on the myriad paths through the meadows and woods, then drop in to the Conservation Centre for a hot or cold drink. Enjoy your visit - download a reserve leaflet here.
Please be aware that we have cattle (cows and a bull) on the reserve throughout the year. Please refrain from walking your dog through the meadow(s) marked with a red Dog Traffic Light. For more information, please click here, you can see a map here or look out for the posters and leaflets at the Conservation Centre and signs on the field gates.
For information on opening times and facilities, please see Lorton Meadows Conservation Centre
We have five trails around the reserve to suit all ages, from the shortest Children’s Wild-Nature Trail, around the picnic area and Withy Woods, to longer trails exploring the whole reserve. So whether you have 30 minutes or a whole afternoon, there’s no reason not to get out there and see the wildlife for yourself.
Greenhill Nature Trail part 1 – approx. 0.6miles / 25 minutes
The Legacy Trail links Lorton Meadows to Portland Bill, via a 20 km trail, discovering all the boroughs important nature sites along the way. You can attempt the whole trail in one day, or walk it in sections, or follow one of 9 circular walks starting from each of the waypoints. For printable trail and circular walk guides go to the Legacy Trail webpage.
Lorton Valley Nature Park
Lorton Meadows, the RSPB's Lodmoor Nature Reserve, the Woodland Trust’s Two Mile Coppice reserve and Lodmoor Country Park together form the Lorton Valley Nature Park, a green lung for Weymouth. The diverse 187 hectare site melds family activities and nature - with wildlife rich meadows, wetland, ancient woodland and family facilities open to all – plenty for visitors to explore.
Help make a difference to your local wildlife by volunteering you could join us fortnightly for our Volunteer Conservation Tasks, managing habitats for wildlife across the reserve, or survey butterflies, wildflowers, invertebrates, reptiles or birds across the reserve. Please contact us on 01305 816546 to discover more.
From the B3159 (Dorchester Road), turn into Lorton Lane and continue to the end of the lane, approximately half a mile, where you will reach the Conservation Centre & carpark.
Cycle path access from Dorchester, Weymouth or Upwey Station with cycle racks available at the centre.
The map below shows the entrance to Lorton Lane from the B3159 (Dorchester Road), Lorton Meadows Conservation Centre and car park (please be aware of pedestrians and cyclists on Lorton Lane). The cycle path from Dorchester to Weymouth alongside the A354 joins Lorton Lane at the bridge over the A road. There are pedestrian access points: along Lorton Lane, from Littlemoor (Louviers Road) and the Park & Ride - find out more about this here.
Access and safety
Access to the meadows is via field, bridle or kissing gates and stiles. There are regularly walked but unsurfaced tracks through the meadows, including marked nature trails, with visitors also free to make their own way between the fields on established paths, however the ground may be rough and uneven in places and can be muddy underfoot. In windy weather please avoid the woodlands.
There are nine ponds scattered across the reserve, including a pond in the picnic area and one by the car park.
There are cows and a bull on site throughout the year – please keep your distance, observe any signs and use the Dog Traffic Light system, (click here to view it and click here for the map of the site), up to date maps of the cattle locations are available at the centre.
Please take precautions against ticks. See our general Visitor Information page for more advice.
Species and habitats
Hay meadow and pasture, hedgerows, woodland, permanent and seasonal ponds.
Barn owl, bullfinch, kestrel, song thrush, Cetti's warbler, marbled white and common blue butterfly, emperor dragonfly, fox, slow-worm, early purple orchid, bee orchid, corky-fruited water-dropwort.
Nearby nature reserves
Nature reserve map
Contains derived data © Crown copyright and database right 2012.Ordnance Survey LA100019790
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