North Dorset countryside sites
Dorset County Council currently manages 12 sites across North Dorset in partnership with North Dorset District Council.
These sites cover a wide range of habitats from water meadows to chalk downland. Most are within easy reach of a town or village. The sites make an important contribution to the diversity of North Dorset's wildlife and support a number of important species. Each season brings its own interest and there is something new to see whatever time of year you visit.
The North Dorset Countryside Sites leaflet (pdf, 454kb) (opens in a new window) includes more details on each site including how to get there using either public transport or by car and what you can see and do.
Around 30% of the North Dorset area is designated under two areas of outstanding natural beauty. There is also a wide range of sites designated for their conservation interest including a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), National Nature Reserves (NNRs), Sites of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCIs) and Local Nature Reserves (LNRs).
- Castle Hill, Shaftesbury
A site rich in wildlife, lovely views and links with the history of Shaftesbury.
- Chantry Fields, Gillingham
A small riverside retreat along the River Stour.
- Ibberton Hill
A secluded site with wonderful views across the surrounding countryside, a favourite with walkers and summer picnickers.
- Langton Meadows, Blandford
One of Blandford's riverside sites adjacent to Stour Meadows.
- Littlecombe Picnic Area, Fontmell Magna
The ideal starting point for exploring Fontmell and Melbury Down.
- Milldown, Blandford
A patch of countryside right on the doorstep with areas of woodland and species-rich chalk grassland.
- Okeford Hill
A hilltop picnic site perfect for walkers, horse riders and cyclists.
- Preetz Way, Blandford
Important local green open space on the edge of Blandford.
- Riverside Meadows, Sturminster Newton
A riverside reserve used for walking and fishing.
- Rollsbridge, Gillingham
A local green space with riverside benches if you wish to stop and appreciate this tranquil site.
- Stour Meadows, Blandford
A important site for recreation along the River Stour and links into the town centre.
- Woolland Hill
This important site contains one of Dorset's largest fragments of chalk heath.