Kilwood Coppice Nature Reserve

A superb Dorset Wildlife Trust woodland reserve in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck.


Kilwood Coppice Nature Reserve: Nature fights back - Any time of year is a good time to go to the Dorset Wildlife Trust Reserve at Kilwood; there is always lots of interest to see. The very best time, however, is the last week in April or the first week in May when the woodland floor is the most amazing sight. There are acres of ramsons (or wild garlic) that make the most wonderful white carpet. almost like snow, and I have to say that it is one of the most memorable floral sights I have ever seen, even outstripping bluebell woods. Up until a hundred years or so ago this area was subject to extensive clay extraction but nature has reclaimed and recolonised the remnants of the industrial past. There is now lots of natural interest, especially around the deserted clay pits which now form wildlife ponds. The spoil heaps too are rich in species. Expect the unexpected at Kilwood! The recovered clay working is only part of the story of Kilwood. To get to the main woodland where the ramsons and bluebells are you atrt with a walk down a country lan e with hedgerow on either side. You then pass the clay workings and come to rough pasture where the working horses once ate their lunch (and tea, supper, breakfast, etc!). Pressing on you come to hazel coppice and damp woodland before the reward, the oak and beech woodland where the ramsons can vbe found in spring. One small word of warning. As the soil is clay it can get very wet and muddy so even in summer make sure you start out with sturdy, waterproof footwear.    
Site Name Kilwood Coppice Nature Reserve
Protection Dorset Wildlife Trust
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Diversity Very High (over 200 species)
Map Reference SY930382
Site Habitats
Habitat Relationship
H2: Dry Heath/Acid Grassland Mosaic


S1: Hedgerow Scrub


W1: Broad-leaf Woodland


Site Diary
Diary Date Notes

A decent afternoon and just right for a stroll at Kilwood:

  • 88 species recorded without really trying! 
  • Good numbers of butterflies about but not a great range of species
  • Kilwood clay pits have changed so much in the 15 years we have been visiting