Stunning aerial images featuring in the Dorset Wildlife Calendar

PUBLISHED: 11:16 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:23 21 February 2017

Old Harry Rocks

Old Harry Rocks


This year’s Dorset Wildlife Calendar features breathtaking aerial images of some of its reserves

Dorset Wildlife Trust’s 2017 calendar- Dorset Above and Beyond – provides a stunning new perspective on many of Dorset’s special places, including some of the Trust’s lesser-known reserves. The photographs taken by James Burland using a drone, with technical assistance and advice from Paul Hoskins at, are a visual love letter to Dorset’s amazing wild spaces from an aerial viewpoint. James, who is Dorset born and bred, said: “The drone gave me a bird’s-eye view of many of the Trust’s iconic reserves as well as Dorset’s distinctive landscape.”

In the interests of safety and privacy James only flew the drone when nobody was around, which resulted in some interesting early morning wildlife encounters. “I had just launched the drone on the Fleet at Chesil when I noticed a skylark ascending at almost exactly the same rate as the drone. It stopped and hovered, maintaining its position perfectly for many minutes, singing loudly. It continued to ascend and sang long after my drone battery had died – a poignant reminder of the efficiency of these amazing little creatures.”

Find out more about the calendar and the reserves featured at

Tadnoll & Winfrith

Tadnoll and Winfrith Nature ReserveTadnoll and Winfrith Nature Reserve

In the summer the dry heath of this nature reserve transforms into a carpet of purple heather. It is home to all six reptile species native to the UK, including the sand lizard, the male of which is particularly spectacular with its vivid green colours after shedding its skin after hibernation.

Camera elevation: 9m above ground level

Powerstock Common

Powerstock CommonPowerstock Common

This gem of a nature reserve in west Dorset supports an impressive list of rare and protected species amongst an intricate mosaic of unimproved wet and dry grassland, scrub, woodland and small copses. The Common is particularly important for butterfly species, including the silver-washed fritillary, which can be spotted from June to August.

Camera elevation: 84m above ground level

Old Harry Rocks

Old Harry RocksOld Harry Rocks

This iconic chalk stack is the first easterly point of interest along the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Jurassic Coast. Nearby is the DWT Townsend nature reserve – rich in wildflowers and butterflies – and Durlston Country Park nature reserve and castle. Both these wild gateways to the Jurassic Coast are set high above Swanage Bay and offer splendid views of the coast.

Camera elevation: 31m above ground level

Girdlers Coppice

Girdlers CoppiceGirdlers Coppice

This DWT nature reserve is a wonderful example of oak woodland and hazel coppice with a rich ground flora which slopes down towards the River Stour. The site is known for ancient trees, greater spotted woodpeckers and white-legged damselflies which emerge there in the summer. Girdlers Coppice is easily accessible by car via the Fiddleford Manor car park. Visit in spring to admire its delicate carpet of spring flowers.

Camera elevation: 89m above ground level

Lytchett Bay

Lytchett BayLytchett Bay

Part of the Great Heath Living Landscape, this reserve is an internationally important area of Poole Harbour managed by DWT in partnership with Amphibian and Reptile Conservation. The heathland habitat supports rare reptiles and birds including the Dartford warbler. The bay is best visited on a rising tide when the feeding birds leave the deep channels. Don’t forget to take your binoculars.

Camera elevation: 31m above ground level

Holes Bay

Holes BayHoles Bay

Managed by DWT in partnership with Poole Harbour Commissioners and the Borough of Poole, this reserve is part of the Great Heath Living Landscape project. It is an important site for wetland and wading birds including oystercatchers, spoonbill, redshank and kingfishers. The best time to see the birds is in autumn, winter and early spring. The site is easily accessible via a cycle path along the shoreline.

Camera elevation: 4m above ground level

Stonehill Down

Stonehill DownStonehill Down

Located high on the chalk ridge running west/east across the Isle of Purbeck, Stonehill Down has far-reaching view of Wareham Forest and Poole Harbour. This downland reserve supports the early purple orchid which starts appearing from April to June. It displays up to 50 dark purple flowers arranged in a dense cone-shaped cluster on a tall spike, it is found alongside the common spotted orchid and the bee orchid.

Camera elevation: 87m above ground level

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