Locations and Access

  • Fontmell Down

    Site Details: 
    Name of Location Fontmell Down Nature Reserve
    Highlights Butterflies, Chalk grassland flora, Orchids, Views
    • Limited parking on site
    • Parking can be difficult
    • No visitor facilities
    • Information display
    • No defined paths
    OS Map Reference ST887176
    Access Points: 

    WARNING: I have not been able to test all of these co-ordinates, they are based on where I placed the markers so use with care!

    Name SatNav Coordinates
    Car Park above Fontmell Magna 50° 57' 2.3256" N, 2° 10' 16.9968" W
    Car park at Spread Eagle Hill 50° 58' 13.4076" N, 2° 9' 53.2044" W

    Take the 'high road' from Blandford toward Shaftesbury. After passing a right turn towards Compton Abbas Airfield on your right you will find a small car park on the left hand side a couple fo hundred yards further on. Check the information board for the path to the Dorset Wildlife Trust reserve area.

    Location Map: 

    The blue pin mark the approximate centre of the reserve, the yellow pin(s) mark the approximate locations of parking places that enable you to access the reserve.

    Potential Hazards: 

    Any walk in the countryside is going to have its potential hazards but the primary aim of this function is to forewarn less able people of difficulties they may face although some may apply to other people as well.

    Hazard Commentsort descending Description
    Livestock Cattle are used to graze areas of the down

    Grazing by cows, sheep or horses is an essential part of the management plan on many reserves. The livestock themselves are not a hazard but their dung can be unpleasant and very slippery if you are unfortunate enough to step in it! Soft ground on reserves where cows are grazed can become very pitted, uneven and muddy. Some people, of course, are very nervous about being close to livestock. It is essential that dogs are kept on leads near livestock (but then should always be on leads on nature reserves) and it is also essential that gates are closed after you.

    Steep Slopes There are some extremely steep slopes here

    Escarpments and downland are often left unfarmed and so have a diversity of plant life and become designated as nature reserves to protect those species that are present. Steep slopes in such environments can be a struggle to climb and the risk of falling will always be present and special care is needed. 

    Rough Ground There is not much in the way of good footpaths!

    Nature reserves exist for the wildlife and plants that are found there and are not always visitor friendly, especially some smaller reserves. The ground on some reserves can be very rough going even when there are paths present and would not be passable by those who are less mobile.

    Nearby Sites: 

    These are sites near to the one you selected. Distances given are VERY approximate! Click any photograph to go to the full details of that site.

    • Approximate Distance: 2 miles approx

      A small pond and associated streams originally used hundreds of years ago for breeding fish.


    • Approximate Distance: 4 Miles

      An intriging mix of hazel coppice, ancient woodland, conifer plantation and private woodland for pheasant rearing!


    • Approximate Distance: 5 miles approx

      An enormous iron age fort; the ground has been pretty much undisturbed for centuries and as a result has all sorts of interesting flowers and associated insects.


    • Approximate Distance: 5 miles approx

      An ancient iron hill fort well worth a visit in spring, summer or autumn.


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