Nature and Wildlife in Dorset
Looking for a destination where you can see rare and endangered wildlife in their natural habitats? Or enjoy all that nature has to offer? Then Dorset is certainly the place for you.
With over half of the county being Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it's no surprise that we have some of the best wildlife and natural landscapes found anywhere in the UK.
Dorset is a diverse haven which many different species call home, some of which are so rare that they can't be found anywhere else!
With all of our fabulous wildlife to enjoy, it really is a nature lover’s dream location to visit. So pack your binoculars and venture out into the great outdoors.
Get back to nature
Dorset is filled with country parks, nature reserves and wide open spaces where you can run free, breathe in fresh air and truly feel at one with nature.
The Blue Pool is surround by 25 acres of heathland and woodland in the beautiful Isle of Purbeck. The tranquil pool is ever-changing in colour, from blue to turquoise to green. Follow the sandy paths down to the waters edge and up to the viewpoint looking towards Corfe Castle.
Dorset also has a number of fantastic RSPB and Dorset Wildlife Trust reserves which give an incredible chance to see a wide variety of wildlife up-close within their natural habitats.
Best places for bird watching
Being located in the most southerly position in Dorset, the Isle of Portland's unique geology and climate are ideal for a wide variety of birds and animals. So, if you enjoy bird-watching of coastal or migratory birds, then it’s a great place to indulge your passion. Plus over half of Britain's fifty seven butterfly species can be seen on Portland, along with rare plants species only found in a handful of locations in the UK.
Some of Dorset’s other bird watching hotspots include Durlston Country Park’s coastal location on the Isle of Purbeck, the sheltered fleet lagoon found nestled behind Chesil Beach and Poole Harbour – Europe’s largest natural harbour.
Red squirrels are very rare in southern England, only existing in small populations and Brownsea Island is one of those places. Surrounded by Poole Harbour, the water keeps grey squirrels at bay, meaning the endangered reds are kept safe and sound and can eat as many pine cones as they can manage!
Dorset's heathlands are an important part of a global resource and are home to all six of Britain's native reptile species. More sand lizards and smooth snakes are found on these heaths than anywhere else in the country. It is also home to the extremely rare lady bird spider, so rare in fact that it was thought extinct in Britain until it was discovered in 1980 and is now being re-introduced to a small corner of the county.
Get up close and personal
There are always interesting events and courses taking place across the county, giving you the opportunity to learn from an expert or get close to wildlife without disturbing or damaging the environment. So grab your ID guides, binos and camera and get ready to be amazed.
Abbotsbury Swannery is home to the only managed colony of free-flying mute swans in the world that visitors can walk among. During the nesting and hatching period (end May-end June), it is possible to stand next to hatching eggs and see the very cute sygnets getting used to family life.
Stay a little longer
With all of this available right here in Dorset, we hope that we’ve given you more than enough reason to visit.
Read more information about the measures that have been put in place to make Abbotsbury Swannery COVID Secure. Abbotsbury Swannery is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the...
*LATEST UPDATE* Brownsea Island has now re-opened and tickets need to be booked in advance. You will need to purchase a separate ticket for the ferry from the kiosks on Poole Quay. The perfect...
Cumulus Outdoor Adventure is now open and taking bookings. Please see their Covid-19 webpage for changes they have implemented so that they are working within Government guidelines ...
Pre-booking admission is now essential. Please visit website for tickets. Watch the YouTube video to see which areas are open. Farmer Palmer's is where young adventurers can frankly...
Fore / Adventure host two hour taster sessions to three day expeditions for all ages and abilities, getting closer to nature by sea kayak and stand up paddle board and enjoying the fruits of natures...
Martin offers professional guided walks, Jurassic Coast tours, Charity Walks, Corporate Walking Events and fossil hunts anywhere along the full length of the Jurassic Coast and surrounding areas....
To inject a sense of fun into your family days out then head to Moors Valley Country Park and Forest to get active in the outdoors and have yourself a family adventure. You are sure to find something...
Purbeck Park - Where adventures begin… Located in the centre of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, Purbeck Park is a 'must visit' location. Start here and explore nearby attractions and the...
Authentic Woodland Weaponry in Tolpuddle, Dorset. Pre-Booking Essential Nestled in a rustic woodland you will find Insight Activities shooting and throwing ranges where anyone can learn the arts of...
Whether you are a complete beginner or a keen birder, there are some fantastic bird watching locations here in...
Over half of the county of Dorset has been designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Dorset is well known for being a rural and wildlife rich county, with many nature reserves to explore.
Discover Dorset's rich and intriguing heritage and soak up the atmosphere of bygone eras.
If you're looking for a snack or drink, you’re never too far from a café or coffee shop in Dorset.
Enjoy some of the freshest, local produce at one of Dorset cafes, pubs or restaurants
Dorset has a fantastic range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.