Round-leaved sundew © James Hitchen

Round-leaved sundew © James Hitchen

Winfrith and Tadnoll Heath © James Hitchen

Winfrith and Tadnoll Heath © James Hitchen

Sand lizard © James Hitchen

Sand lizard © James Hitchen

A large tract of lowland heath, dissected by wet meadows

Location

East Knighton Lane
East Knighton
Dorset
DT2 8LQ

OS Map Reference

SY8047286323
A static map of Tadnoll & Winfrith Heath

Know before you go

Size
181 hectares

Entry fee

N/A

Parking information

Limited roadside parking at both entrances.

Bicycle parking

Yes

Grazing animals

Tadnoll - cattle and ponies all year on heath. Cattle on meadow in summer.
Winfith - cattle all year.

Walking trails

Circular marked trail around Tadnoll, linear path joining the two sites. Bridleway on southern section of Winfrith, otherwise Open Access.

Access

Pedestrian gates at main entrances (access through field gates may be possible by arrangement). Some sections of level path/ track on both reserves.

UNDER THE COUNTRYSIDE AND RIGHTS OF WAY ACT 2000 (CROW), DOGS SHOULD BE KEPT ON SHORT LEADS ON ALL HEATHLAND AREAS OF THIS SITE (OPEN ACCESS LAND) FROM 1ST MARCH TO 31ST JULY TO PROTECT GROUND NESTING BIRDS.

Gates give access to the main paths at the entrances for both sites, with information boards at these points. On the Tadnoll side a marked circular walk leads around the heathland, whilst a surfaced track leads north through the heathland to the edge of the meadows from the entrance at Winfrith. The linear David Limb Trail leads between the two sites. Although the site is Open Access please be aware that sensitive heathland species, including ground nesting birds, may occur throughout and the ground may be rough and uneven in places.

The reserves are divided by the Tadnoll Brook, with areas of deep water and unprotected banks, and there are wet boggy areas within both the heathland and meadows on both reserves. Several small ponds are scattered across the heathland, with shallow scrapes in the Winfrith meadows. There may be grazing animals on site at all times of year - please keep your distance and observe any signs. Adders and ticks are also present. Please see our 'Visitor Information' page for more details.

Dogs

On a lead
Please remove all dog mess from site.

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Summer

About the reserve

This internationally important heathland and wetland is an iconic piece of Dorset landscape, divided by the Tadnoll Brook, a chalk stream tributary of the River Frome, and including part of Thomas Hardy's Egdon Heath.

The dry heath, a carpet of purple in late summer, and wet boggy areas with acid peaty pools are home to a host of wildlife, including a number of rare heathland species. Birds include the ground nesting nightjar, which can be heard 'churring' after dark, and the diminutive Dartford warbler, often seen flitting between gorse bushes or perching as it sings. Many interesting dragon and damselflies live in the wetter areas, whilst silver-studded blue butterflies can be found on the open heath. Flowers include typical heathland species, with common heather, bell heather and gorse throughout, and sundew, bog asphodel and sphagnum mosses in the wetter heath. Specialities of the heathland areas include the Dorset heath and marsh gentian whilst the wet meadows support uncommon plants such as marsh cinquefoil and meadow thistle. The Tadnoll Brook chalk stream runs through the reserve and is connected to the flood meadows which support water vole and wintering waders.

Useful Information

Access from the A352, about three miles west of Wool. Take the turning opposite the Red Lion pub onto Gatemore Road. For Winfrith there is parking on the right, just after first junction. For Tadnoll turn left at this first junction, crossing over the cattle grid to follow the road as it skirts around the bottom of the heath, then round to the right at Tadnoll Mill onto Redbridge Road. Roadside parking for Tadnoll is adjacent to the reserve entrance c.500 metres along this road.

Contact us

Environmental designation

Ramsar
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
SPA
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Tadnoll & Winfrith Nature Reserve Map

Tadnoll & Winfrith Nature Reserve Map