Learn more about the Isle of Purbeck

Townsend Nature Reserve
in Local Attractions

The Townsend Nature Reserve is located on the southern side of Swanage and overlooks the bay across to Ballard Down to the north-east and along the Purbeck Hills towards Corfe Castle in the west.

The Townsend fields were quarried for Purbeck Limestone for centuries, leaving many mounds and hollows. There is one remaining open quarry shaft at the north end of the reserve.

The reserve covers 30 acres (13 hectares) and is home to a wide mix of wildflowers, including many orchids.

In the spring and summer, cattle grazing in the reserve and horses graze all year round.

There are several public rights of way across the reserve, including to Durlston Country Park and the Priests Way to Worth Matravers.

The paths are unsurfaced and mainly short grass, but some have uneven ground and lose stones.

The nature reserve was made a Site of Special Scientific Interest SSSI in 1977.


You can access the Townsend Nature Reserve on foot from Townsend Road, the Hoburne Park estate, or the old Dump Road off Panorama Road. Access is also available via Durlston Country Park.

OS Map Reference SZ0226578004


Dogs are welcome in reserve, but please keep them on a lead. Clear up after them. There is a dog waste bin at the North-West entrance to the reserve.



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