Former water meadows on the River Frome; the site of a Roman Villa and medieval village

Location

Maiden Newton
Dorchester
Dorset
DT2 0BY

OS Map Reference

SY6147395247
A static map of Nunnery Mead

Know before you go

Size
6 hectares

Entry fee

N/A

Parking information

No allocated parking. Walk in from surrounding villages.

Bicycle parking

No

Grazing animals

Cattle and sheep grazing from spring to winter

Walking trails

No footpaths on site but permissive open access and a rough path along the river bank. Adjacent to bridleway/ cycle route.

Access

Access to main fields through field gate with stiles and narrow footbridges leading to river banks. No formal paths, mostly flat but grass areas may be wet and uneven with quite long grass. Site is muddy in parts.

The reserve can be wet so caution and wellies are essential, especially in winter. Ditches can have deep mud in them, so cross only at bridges. Caution is advised when using the riverside section of the reserve, as the water can be deep and fast flowing in places, especially when the river is in flood.

The site is grazed for part of the year and may support ticks - see our visitor information pages for more on these general countryside hazards.
 

Dogs

On a lead
Please remove all dog mess from site.

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Spring & Summer

About the reserve

With a mixture of low-lying old water meadows, historical sites and a wending wooded section of the River Frome, there’s plenty to discover in this peaceful setting.

The former water meadows that make up the main area of the reserve sit alongside the banks of the River Frome. With seasonal flooding and historical agricultural improvement, the meadows have become rich in nutrients. You may catch a glimpse of snipe, who feed along the ditch edges and waterlogged soil over the winter. Throughout the year you may also hear the fluty song of the song thrush, carrying across the meadows. The thick hedgerows, with ancient field maples, support dormice.

For those who like a spot of history with their wildlife, there are two archaeological sites of interest here. The first, an old Roman villa, which had some of the 'richest' Roman mosaics in Britain, and the second the site of a medieval settlement.

The river Frome flows along the northern boundary of the reserve, nestled within a thin strip of woodland. The wood is a veritable mix of species with ash, sycamore, beech, poplar and alder. Beneath the canopy where the dappled light dances on the frisky waters of the Frome, kingfisher and grey wagtail may be found. The river plays host to eels and brown trout, which breed further upstream, both of which help to feed the otters which call the Frome their home. 

Useful Information

Direct access on foot/ by bike only. Follow the bridleway (also cycle route 26) which runs north west from the end of the road at Southover (SY6186 9499) for about 0.5km and the reserve entrance will be on your right-hand side. No vehicle access from Noton end (north of reserve).

Contact us

Nunnery Mead Nature Reserve Map

Nunnery Mead Nature Reserve Map