Mill Ham Island

Mill Ham Island Nature Reserve

Mill Ham Island Nature Reserve by Jane Franklin

Mill Ham Island © Jane Franklin
This little visited area offers a retreat for otters


Child Okeford
Blandford Forum
DT11 8DU

OS Map Reference

A static map of Mill Ham Island

Know before you go

1 hectare

Entry fee


Parking information

Roadside parking by railway bridge.

Bicycle parking


Grazing animals



Through pedestrian gate across a field then over a bridge and style. Narrow path.

A bridge with stile leads over the ditch and onto the reserve, and a narrow path cuts through the tall vegetation to the river bank on the other side giving access to the shaded river banks. In late spring and summer much of the reserve is covered by tall dense vegetation with quite a lot of nettle. There are steep, unprotected banks to the River Stour and care should be taken at all times. Avoid times of heavy rain and high water levels.


No dogs permitted
See above for more information about dogs on nature reserves.

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Summer for riverine plants and dragonflies

About the reserve

This small ‘island’ borders one side of the River Stour and provides a pleasant spot for some river watching. To one side this scrubby woodland has steep banks down to the river where, on sunny days, reflections of overhanging trees and dapples of light play on the calm surface. On the other side there is a wet, reedy area where the river’s old course once ran. 

This quiet spot is little visited and offers a retreat for otters. In the summer months listen for the song of willow warbler or see if you can spot the vibrant metallic blue of a banded demoiselle flitting above the water. 

Useful Information

Four miles west of Sturminster Newton, turn east off the A357 signposted to Child Okeford and park by the railway bridge. Take the public footpath across the fields to a bridge across the river and on to the reserve entrance in the next field.

Contact us

Mill Ham Island Nature Reserve