Stokeford Heath

A pleasant walk between abandoned and overgrown gravel pits on one side and a golf course on the other.    

stokeford heath

Stokeford Heath: fore! -

Sadly, much of the original Stokeford Heath is now lost and is inaccessible. The extensive complex of mineral extraction pits have long since been abandoned which has left deep and dangerous ponds. Nature, though, has done a wonderful job recovering these pits and I am sure the deep undergrowth and ponds have lots of interesting species but you cannot get to see them!

The ponds are on one side of the footpath whilst the East Dorset Golf Club is on the other. Once prime heathland the area is now a well maintained amenity which retains some wildlife value but the original heathland species will mainly have all gone. Beyond the golf course you come to the scout and youth camp at Buddens Farm so there are restrictions on access here too and much of the area has been 'improved' for recreational use.

Carry on through the scout camp and you come to more abandoned ruins of earlier gravel extraction which has, again, been recolonised by nature.

All things considered it makes for an interesting walk with lots of plants to see although none a scarce or special. You do need to watch out for golfers and stray golf balls though!  

Site Name Stokeford Heath
Protection Open Access
Interest
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Diversity High (150-200 species)
Map Reference SY864904
County Dorset
SSSI
Website
Site Habitats
Habitat Relationship
B5: Quarries & mineral extraction

Significant

G5: Amenity Grassland

Significant

S1: Hedgerow Scrub

Minority

Sites Photos

The balancing pond; too deep for any wildlife to make use of

Photo Date
20-06-20

A pleasant walk through a wooded setting

Photo Date
20-06-20

Unusual to see the golf course so quiet

Photo Date
20-06-20

There are several deep ponds resulting from mineral extraction

Photo Date
23-04-13

A bridal way runs past the pits and golf course and makes for easy walking

Photo Date
23-04-13

The balancing pond is used for water sports in the summer

Photo Date
23-04-13

Where the ponds are has become something of an impenetrable jungle!

Photo Date
23-04-13

The golf course still has areas suitable for wildlife

Photo Date
23-04-13
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes
20-06-20

A sunny but blustery afternoon so grateful for the protection of some trees:

  • Not the most interesting of walks but still topped 60 species
  • Very few birds but the swans on one of the lakes had eight well grown cygnets
  • The golf course and the scout camp eerily quiet for a Saturday