Help us keep the special character of our reserves
Please help us conserve the special character of our nature reserves by keeping to the paths where provided, taking your litter home with you and following any guidance signs on site. Guard against fire and do not collect plants or animals without the Trust's permission.
Access & Safety
We want our nature reserves to be as open as possible and are reducing barriers where appropriate. Information about ease of access and ground conditions are given in the descriptions of each nature reserve. For more specific enquiries please contact DWT or 01305 264620.
Most of our sites are rural in nature. It is expected that visitors will have some knowledge of general countryside hazards, and an understanding of personal responsibility & self-reliance. Particular hazards are given where appropriate on the individual reserve pages.
Grid references given on the nature reserve pages relate to the Ordnance Survey British National Grid Coordinate System as used in Ordnance Survey maps. The Ordnance Survey Explorer maps (1:25 000 scale) covering Dorset are 116, 117, 118, 129, OL15, OL22.
Although you are welcome to bring your well behaved dog with you when visiting most of our nature reserves, dogs can cause disturbance and distress to wildlife and livestock. Visitors with dogs should keep them under effective control* and on leads where requested, including on our open access land sites from 1st March to 31st July where, under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), it is a legal requirement that dogs are kept on short leads to protect ground nesting birds. Please clear up any dog mess; most of our sites do not have bins so you will need to take it away with you. Dog mess is unpleasant for other users, poses a threat to other animals (causing various diseases in wildlife, livestock, humans and dogs) and causes enrichment that ruins our precious grassland and heathland habitats. There are some reserves where dogs are forbidden - please check the individual reserves pages.
*Effective control of your dog, as given in the Kennel Club approved Dog Walkers Code, is as follows:
You have a short lead with you and use it when needed (e.g. around livestock, near cliff edges or where signage requests it)
You do not let your dog off the lead unless you keep it in sight and close enough to come back to you on command
Livestock graze many of our nature reserves. Find out more by reading our Grazing animals safety leaflet.
Ticks and other biting animals
Ticks may be present on any of our nature reserves but are most likely to be found in long vegetation. Please make sure that you are familiar with the latest advice on the prevention of tick bites and the associated risks, for example by consulting a reputable website such as the lyme disease action site. Check for and remove ticks as soon as possible after any visit.
The rare and vulnerable Adder (our only venomous snake) may also be present on any of our heathland and 'common' sites, although they are unlikely to be seen since they are easily distrurbed by the sound of approaching people. Adders are not agressive but may bite as a defence mechanism. If you are bitten you should seek medical attention (ring an ambulance or get someone to drive you to hospital) but you may not need any treatment - see the nhs website for more advice. If your dog is bitten take them straight to the vets to see if they need treatment. Carry them rather than let them walk if possible. Reduce the risk of encountering an adder by sticking to any paths and by not allowing your dog to run off into the undergrowth. Check any longer vegetation before passing through.
Wasps, bees and hornets are all likely to be encountered on our nature reserves.
Site specific information is available under each of the reserves pages found in the A-Z listing or by clicking on a site on the map on the Reserves & Centres page. A printed Nature Reserves Guide leaflet, with a map showing the location of the reserves, is also available from our offices and visitor centres.
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