Know before you go
Parking informationSummer/ dry conditions - through gate into field. Other times very limited roadside parking at north-western end of reserve.
Grazing animalsSheep grazing spring to winter
Open access site with public footpath along valley bottom, and across lower fields. Part of the Ant Hill Trail in West Dorset.
Uneven ground, steep slopes and deep mud in parts. Access via stiles and field gates.
The fields at the western end of the reserve are accessed from the main entrance. Please be aware that the lower parts of these fields can be extremely wet, and access to the Bean Close field on the southern side of the stream is not advised. The main part of the site, accessed via the footpath which leaves the lane before Sunnyside Farm, or from field gates off the green lane, is mainly on steep slopes, with numerous anthills, and sturdy footwear is recommended. A footpath, which is part of the medium distance Ant Hill Trail runs along the bottom of the valley.
The site is grazed by sheep and there may be ticks present - for more advice on these and other general countryside hazards please see our visitor information page.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring & Summer
About the reserve
A hidden valley in which to immerse yourself in the sounds of buzzards, bullfinches and babbling streams.
The reserve covers part of the upper reaches of this magical valley where geology reacts to produce interesting mosaic of neutral to acidic grasslands. The steep slopes are covered in yellow meadow anthills, nestling amongst these are plants such as wild thyme and bird’s-foot-trefoil. There are pockets of gorse and other scrub which support breeding linnets and many invertebrates. The slopes are bound to the north by a deeply sunken green lane, with old arching hazel stools on either side, which are home to bullfinch and dormouse.
A small stream winds its way down through pockets of wet woodland, dominated by alder with opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage, and ringing with the calls of marsh tits. The lower, flatter fields give rise to a mix of wet marshy ground and a drier areas traditionally cut for hay. Here you can see southern marsh orchids and a small population of snakes head fritillary.
Turn right off the A3066 just outside Bridport heading for Mangerton and West Milton. At the start of West Milton village turn left onto Ridgeback Lane and then take first left to Loscombe down the narrow road to the bottom of the hill bearing right at the stream to head slightly uphill into the hamlet of Loscombe. The main reserve entrance gate and information board are on the right-hand side opposite Rose cottage. Parking in the field through the gate here in dry conditions (summer). At other times it may be possible to park one car at the bottom of the hill before the road climbs to the hamlet. By foot this reserve is accessed from a number of points from public rights of way.