The nature reserves and wild places of Dorset

In this section I have collected together information about the nature reserves and wild places of Dorset; the best places to go if you are a nature lover. The core of this data are the records and photographs I have collected on my visits to some wonderful places, Dorset is a lovely county. The places featured are not just designated nature reserves, I have included some other locations that are publicly accessible and worth visiting.

Many of the places in the sites database are designated as sites of special scientific interest (SSSI). The borders may not directly match, some SSSI may actually have more than one designated nature reserve within them and some sites cover more than one SSSI. With this in mind I have created a section for the SSSI in Dorset and linked my sites to this as best I can.

I have an interest habitats and how different conditions suit particular animals and plants. To tie this together I have created a section that features the main habitat types to be found in Dorset, the places where those habitats can be found and the typical species associated with each habitat type.


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The master database of recorded sightings starting from January 2017 which can be interrogated by species or site or between date range. Most recent recorded sightings come first in case you just want to know what is about!     


Some of the Twitter contributors we monitor have favourite sites that they frequently visit and record at. These sites have far more coverage than the others and so I have identified them on a location map. Not only do these sites have the most records they are amongst the best places to visit in Dorset.


There are a number of wildlife enthusiasts in Dorset who publish their recorded sightings (and sometimes photographs) on Twitter and Facebook and we monitor their posts and use them to create the recorded sightings database and a gallery of photographs that may aid species identification. You can find out more about these people and see their photographs here.


Access the RESERVES guide for details of over 250 nature reserves and wildlife 'hot-spots' in Dorset. For those I have visited there is a description, some visitor information, some photographs, a location map, a species list and a link to other sites nearby. Use the RESERVES guide if you: 

    • Want to find details of a particular nature reserve in Dorset
    • Want to find a nature reserve near you
    • Want to identify a species you have seen at a Dorset reserve

Access the SSSI guide for information about the Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Dorset, there are 139 of them. In addition to links to the Natural England database for detailed information you can also explore the additional information and photographs that I have been able to accumulate for some of them. Use the SSSI guide if you: 

    • Want to find out why a site has been designated as a SSSI
    • Want to find where the SSSI and its exact extent by looking at a detailed map
    • Want to find nature reserves and hot-spots within a SSSI that you can visit

Access the HABITATS guide for details of the primary habitat types you can encounter in Dorset; the features of each and the animals and plants associated with them. Use the HABITATS guide if you: 

    • Want to see what habitat types are commonly found in Dorset
    • Want to know which reserves and hotspots feature a particular habitat type
    • Want to know what species are typically found in a particular habitat type

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