A glorious swathe of West Dorset chalk downland with a full range of downland butterflies and some special moths. It overlooks the River Frome valley and there are fine views towards the West Dorset coast.



This large site is a water catchment for the local public supply and is owned by Wessex Water. The grassland has been protected from agricultural ‘improvement’ and so has a wonderful range of the natural grassland communities found on the West Dorset chalk hills. BC leases the site and manages it though grazing and scrub control.

Area: 46 hectares


Map Reference: ST 610 003 OS Land Ranger map: 194

Open Access Land with single Bridleway

  • The reserve lies on the west side of the A37 (the Dorchester and Yeovil Road) at the Staggs Folly junction
  • Take the Cattistock Lane turning at this junction - the reserve entrances are 100m (bridleway) and 1/2 km (field and track gate) down on the left-hand side of the lane
  • There is very limited parking along Cattistock Lane at the entrance gate for the bridleway, but a bit more space at the main gate
  • This gateway for the Wessex Water pumping station track must be kept clear at all times
  • There is no parking on site

Public transport

Sureline 212 bus - this runs between Dorchester and Yeovil and stops in Cattistock. It is then a pleasant 1.5 km walk east on a bridleway to reach the reserve.

Maiden Newton Railway Station - it is a 2km walk up the lane from the station. The Wessex Ridgeway crosses the A37 1km to the south of Staggs Folly.

Site access and safety

The reserve has steep slopes but generally firm ground. The upper margins of the site, such as at the eastern end, in from the bridleway gate, are largely level and easy access.

There is a large kissing gate at the main entrance for the track to the pumping station which opens out with a Radar Key & could be used by wheelchair or buggy, though it becomes quite steep in places. Contact for further information.

The reserve is designated Open Access which may be enjoyed subject to the regulations. Please follow the Countryside Code: keep dogs under control and on leads when near the livestock, especially when the cows have their calves with them.

The main entrance gate is large and heavy (improvements planned) and the track to the pumping station could be used by wheelchair or buggy though it becomes quite steep in places. Further information is available from the contacts below.

Most ticks are little more than an irritation, but a few can transmit Lyme disease, a rare and potentially serious illness which is treatable with antibiotics if diagnosed early. It is therefore important to be informed and take some simple precautions


  • John Davis, Head of Reserves - tel: 01929 400209
  • Nigel Spring,  Dorset Branch Reserves Manager - Tel: 01963 23559 or 07981 776 767 (mobile)