Know before you go
Parking informationPark in Fiddleford Manor car park.
Circular paths through wood.
Access across field from Fiddleford Manor car park through field gates and stiles. A network of paths allow access around the wood. There are moderately steep slopes in the wood and wet ground conditions in the fields near the river. Keep your distance from the river banks. Please also be mindful of the potential for falling branches during or following windy weather.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring for flowers
About the reserve
With its centuries-old ancient oak woodland and hazel coppice, Girdlers Coppice Nature Reserve is a special place.
The mixture of wood, coppice and flood meadows means a rich and varied reserve with rare species including dormice and bats.
The nature reserve slopes downhill from the woodland towards the flood meadows by the River Stour. During the spring the bluebells and wood anemone are a sight to behold and the reserve has a rich ground flora that includes moschatel, violet helleborine, wood anenome and saw wort.
The woods are filled with birds and enthusiasts will be pleased to know that it is home to a variety of spring migrants, including willow warbler, blackcap and spotted flycatcher, who join the local residents like marsh tit and treecreeper.
Hazel coppice is a wonderful home for the endangered dormouse and bats are a common sight, often flitting through the woods at dusk.
The woodland is also home to a number of woodland specialist butterflies, with white admirals and silver-washed fritillaries patrolling in the summer.
Dorset Wildlife Trust is working to encourage the diversity of wildflowers, and the butterflies they support, by continuing a system of rotational coppice management. This regularly creates more open patches in the woodland for these species to thrive.
Access from the car park for Fiddleford Manor, situated on the north side of the A357 about 2 miles east of Sturminster Newton. From the car park, go through the first gate towards the manor then go through a pedestrian gate to your left to cross the field towards the wood. Follow the fenceline round to your right to enter the reserve by a gate towards the corner of the wood.