Know before you go
Parking informationRoadside parking (please keep gates clear).
Grazing animalsPonies in the grassland
Track through former quarry area to open meadows, head through meadows to connect to footpath through wood linking to routes for Blue Pool or Corfe Castle.
Via gap by entrance gate (or through locked field gate by prior arrangement) then 400m of level track through first part of woodland with good surface. Unsurfaced paths in woodland and through grassy fields.
From the entrance, follow the track for about 200m to reach the main reserve with woodland on either side. To the south here amongst the trees are a series of ponds - please take care around the edges which are steep sided and be aware that the ponds contain deep water if going to explore this area. Carry on along the track to pass through the area of former quarry working with its patchy cover of woodland and open glades, and then out onto the meadows. Although there are no formal paths, visitors are free to cross through the meadows to reach the coppice woodland on the other side and from here can link up with the footpath crossing through the wood on the northern edge of the reserve. Please be mindful of the risk of falling branches in or following strong winds and that the ground may be uneven and damp underfoot in both the meadows and the woodland. Away from the paths there are a number of hidden dips and banks in the woodland.
Ponies are used to graze the meadows, and ticks and adders may be present on site. For more information on these general countryside hazards and other aspects of visiting our reserves please see our Visitor Information page.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring, Summer, Autumn
About the reserve
The inspiring result of years of natural regeneration, the woodland, pools and meadows of Kilwood Reserve are home to a rich array of wildlife. Here springtime brings a floral treat for the senses as ramsons, also known as wild garlic, carpet the birch and oak woodland floor with a delicate dusting of white. Further beyond the woodland, small areas of old hazel coppice are interspersed with large, open crowned oaks, their branches a display of mosses, lichens and epiphytic ferns. In between are two damp, unimproved meadows where the air is filled with the chorus of grasshoppers through summer.
Once an area of clay mining, dating back to Roman times, the regenerated area also features a series of deep ponds, fringed at the edges with yellow iris and providing a habitat for great crested newts and 18 species of dragonflies. Other species of flower you can discover here include moschatel and, in Spring, bluebells in the shade of the woods, plus heath spotted orchids, betony and devil's-bit scabious peppering the grassland. The combination of open and closed woodland and meadow edge are an enticing site for bats, with 13 species known, and the woodland is also home to dormice. As you meander through the reserve, keeps eyes and ears open for marsh tits and, from April to September, willow warblers. In high summer silver-washed fritillary can also be seen from the central track.
Heading south from Wareham on the A351, take the road to the Blue Pool at the Stoborough Green roundabout. The reserve entrance is a few miles on, just after the junction to East Creech. Look for a lay-by to the left just before the entrance gate.