Size: 42 hectares

Ownership: ARC

Designation: SSSI, SAC, SPA, Ramsar

Restrictions: Open Access Land, please keep dogs on a lead and keep to main paths. Horse riding and cycling is only permitted on statutory
bridleways. No camping or fires of any kind.

Access: Lions Hill Way, Ashley Heath,
Ringwood BH24 2EU

Grid ref: SU 10639 03947

Lions hill is medium sized block of heath which offers a mosaic of different habitats.

The Reserve

Lions Hill is located in the east of Dorset and its series of heaths are separated into
three distinct blocks each with their own varying habitats. The southern block is the largest of the three with equal amounts of dry and wet heath. The central block is split from the southern by Lions Hill Way; the habitat of this area is mainly dry heath with coniferous woodland on the western edge of the reserve. The northern block is separated from the central by the Public Right of Way, the Castleman Trailway. The north area is mainly wet heath and acid bog.

Lions Hill was purchased in 1998 by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation with the aid of a National Lottery grant. The  enclosure is made up of a ring bank and ditch. Its origin is quite obscure with theories for its use ranging from an animal stockade to the banks being firebreaks to protect the lodge pole pines growing within. These would have been grown for use as sailing ship masts.

What to see

The site as a whole is a sanctuary for all six native reptile species :These include the common lizard, slow-worm, grass snake, smooth snake and the adder. Sand lizards were successfully introduced into this area in 1998 and have spread across the reserve. Wet areas support common frogs and toads. 

The southern block is also extremely good for silver studded blue butterflies. Other notable species of interest include a healthy population of Dartford warblers and wood crickets (Nemobius sylvestris) as a novelty which are abundant across the reserve.