Know before you go
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring and Summer
About the reserve
Imagine standing in the centre of a wood, ancient ash and hazel surround you and there is a carpet of wood anemones and bluebells at your feet. Woodland birds sing all around you. This is Ashley Wood at its spring time finery.
Spring and summer is a wonderful time to visit this incredible wild wood. Dorset Wildlife Trust acquired and started working on the reserve in 1999. One of the first things we did was to reinstate a coppice-with-standards management system. This has created a varied woodland structure with wide sunny rides, perfect for butterflies such as speckled wood, white admiral and silver-washed fritillary.
Various species of bat use the wood, including the rare Bechstein’s bat. These beautiful tree-dwelling bats feed on invertebrates like spiders and resting day-flying insects which they swoop down and grab from their hiding places on leaves and branches. While the carpet of wood anemones and bluebells might grab most of your attention in spring, keep an eye out for other flowers, such as primrose, pignut, early purple orchid and orpine.
Adjacent to the B3082 Wimborne Road at Tarrant Keyneston, 4km east of Blandford. Travelling south on the B3082, approximately 500m past Ashley Wood Garage there is a track on the left, just before the houses, into the reserve. Access is by foot only through the field gate at the end of the track. No parking available on site but you should be able to park in the village and follow one of several public footpaths leading towards the wood.