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Duncliffe Wood

Colourful bluebells in Duncliffe Wood

Duncliffe Wood is a beautiful ancient wood and one of the largest in North Dorset. The highest point of the site is an incredible 210m above sea level and it can be seen from miles around.

A designated Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI), the wood has a rich mix of woodland species including a scattering of small-leaved lime coppice stools which are reported to be the oldest living things in Dorset.  The surrounding landscape is characterised by sweeping valleys and rounded hills with woodland on the scarp faces.

Coppice Stool Moreinf
Small-leaved lime coppice stool

Once an oak, ash and hazel woodland, the site had been traditionally coppiced but was clear-felled and replanted in the fifties and sixties with a mix of Norway spruce, oak, larch and beech.  The wide range of notable plant species includes moschatel, yellow archangel, wood speedwell, early-purple orchid, and a profusion of bluebell in the spring.

The wood is a reservoir of wildlife with a rich butterfly mix including silver-washed fritillary and white admiral. Other wildlife includes various species of bat and birds such as tawny owl, buzzard, woodpecker and treecreeper.

There are fine views to be had from the summit of Duncliffe Hill, looking south to the Dorset Downs and Bulbarrow Hill and north to Gillingham, and beyond to Alfred's Tower at Stourhead in Wiltshire.

There is plenty to see and enjoy at Duncliffe Wood, making this a lovely woodland destination for all the family.


Duncliffe Wood is a large (92.16 ha) woodland which stretches over the double summits of Duncliffe Hill like a saddle as they rise out of Blackmoor Vale. Lying 4.8km (3 miles) west of Shaftesbury, its prominent setting ensures it can be seen for miles around.  The surrounding landscape is characterised by sweeping valleys and rounded hills with a dominance of woodland on the scarp faces. 

Maps: OS Explorer 129 and Landranger 183


By bus

• Damory Coaches run the 309 service that includes stops at Stour Provost and         East Stour

• Shaftesbury & District buses run limited bus services:
- No. 36 that includes stops at East Stour, Stour Provost and Stour Row
- No. 40 that includes stops at East Stour and Stour Provost

• South West Coaches run service 42 which stops at East Stour and Stour Row

From East Stour and Stour Row there are various public footpaths and minor roads leading to the main entrance on the west side of the wood.

Please check bus times and services with Traveline as they are subject to change.

By train

Nearest railway station: Gillingham 6.4km (4 miles) from the site.

For further information on public transport, contact Traveline on 0871 200 2233 or visit Traveline.

By car

From Salisbury, take the A30, heading west. After passing through Shaftsbury, turn left opposite the Kings Arms, onto New Lane, following the signs for Stour Row. The entrance to the woodland is on the left after New Gate Farm.

There is parking available for approximately 25 cars in a small car park just off New Lane, at the start of the track which leads up to the western side of the wood.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.

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