Dorset Wildlife Trust visitor centres are reopening

The Chesil Beach Centre from the Fleet Lagoon by Marc Kativu Smith

We’re pleased to be able to start the gradual reopening of our visitor centres from 12th April 2021. Our priority is keeping you safe, so in line with Government guidance, we require all centre visitors to observe social distancing and wear a face covering while inside.

It’s always important to respect nature and wildlife when visiting nature reserves, but especially so in spring with breeding and ground-nesting birds suffering greatly if disturbed. Please be aware of dog-walking policies, keeping dogs on leads unless in a designated off-lead area. Stick to paths and please take your litter home with you. Together we can all help protect wildlife while enjoying the benefits of time spent in nature. 

Some of our centres still have some restrictions so please check details about the specific centres you are visiting to plan your day.

The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre 
From Monday 12th April, the visitor centre gift shop will be open between 10am and 4pm each day. Staff will be on hand for advice and a programme of self-led activities is available, taking in the wildlife in the area around the centre. 

The self-led activities available are: 

Activity backpacks (£3 hire fee per day): These nifty packs contain activities and equipment for bird watching (binoculars), exploring the seashore (ID guides), identifying wildflowers and minibeasts (magnifying glass and pot) as well as a range of other identification guides. Hire one for a day of wildlife discovery. 

Spotters guides (free): Shoreline spotting, Marine megafauna, Butterfly ID, Beach bingo. 

The Taste* Café will also be open, providing takeaway and outdoor service only. 

Public toilets next to the visitor centre will be open as normal. 

The Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre exhibition space will be closed, with plans to open this from 17th May, dependent on Government guidance. 

Visit the centre’s page for more details

The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre 
From Monday 12th April, the Wild Seas Centre, Kimmeridge, will be part-open between 11am and 4pm each day, with staff available to talk to and with self-led activities to collect. Due to the size of the centre, staff will be operating from the centre’s doors, and visitors won’t be able to enter the building. We hope to be able to open the centre to visitors from 17th May, dependent on Government guidance. 

The self-led activities available from staff at the centre are: 

Seashore explorer packs (£6 hire fee per day): Pop in and hire an Explorer Pack for the day. These backpacks are full of fun activities and ID guides to help you discover the wildlife where you’re exploring, including a plastic-free crabline, eggcase hunt leaflet, nurdle cup, shell hunt booklet, and seashore code booklet to keep.  

Spotters guides (free): Shoreline spotting, Marine megafauna, Butterfly ID, Beach bingo. 

Public toilets are available in the car park near the visitor centre. 

Please note that the Kimmeridge Bay toll road and parking fee is now £6 for cars. Fees for other vehicles vary.

Visit the centre’s page for more details

The Kingcombe Centre

The Kingcombe Centre will be open 9am-5pm from Monday 12th April 2021. Please wear a face covering and observe social distancing during your visit. Please note that the new Humble Bee Café won’t be open just yet, but please check the @DWTKingcombe Twitter account for information about the grand opening! 

The car park and toilets are open and you can enjoy peaceful walks around the reserve and observe the spring wildlife around the centre. 

Visit the centre’s website for more details

Brownsea Island
Plans are underway to restart trips to Brownsea Island. They will need to be booked in advance, and boats will be running from Poole Quay only (with no service to and from Sandbanks). Please keep an eye on the National Trust’s Brownsea Island page and our website for updates. 

Lorton Meadows Conservation Centre 
Lorton Meadows will only be reopening for specific pre-planned practical events. A programme of events is coming soon. You can still enjoy the reserve and the outside classroom, which are open as usual.  Read more about the reserve.