Spring Walk 1: Wildflower Meadows at Stonebarrow, near Charmouth

The wildflower meadows on the National Trust’s Golden Cap estate are beginning to bloom and in the spring you have a good chance of seeing the Green-winged orchid in the West Hay meadows.

Westhay Farm was once part of a settlement dating back to the medieval period. The term ‘Hay’ is common in West Dorset and means an enclosure. In this area, the patchwork pattern of fields has been preserved and the traditional methods of farming have encouraged a plethora of wildlife including butterflies and many varieties of orchid. Follow a 2 mile walk, starting at Stonebarrow car park, you can find walk details on the National Trust website

Find out more about the Green-winged orchid before you head out – happy orchid hunting!

Green-winged orchid

Spring Walk 2: Durlston Coutry Park

Durlston is awash with wildlife throughout the year but the spring brings a heady mix of wildflowers and sea birds, so well worth a visit this month! Head to Visitor Centre for the latest wildlife sightings or check out their daily online diary before you leave.

There are a number of walking routes around the country park, to suit all levels of energy  – for an example, visit the South West Coast Path website for a short clifftop walk through Durlston Country Park, a National Nature Reserve featuring a range of important habitats, including seacliffs, limestone downland, woodland, hay meadows, dry stone walls and hedgerows, each of which is host to a wide diversity of wildlife.

Visit the Durlston Country Park website for access information, inluding public transport starting in May, parking and hire of Tramper accessibility scooters.

Durlston Country Park

Spring Walk 3: Kingcombe Meadows

Take a wander around Kingcombe Meadows and look out for springtime flowers such as Early Purple Orchid, cowslips, stitchwort and cuckoo flower.

Set amidst winding country lanes, delightful rivers and superb, unspoilt countryside, the Kingcombe Centre is a place to relax and be inspired. Drop into the tea room after your walk – they have a reputation for great cake!

Find ot more about the Kingcombe Centre and Meadows on the Dorset Wildlife Trust website.

Kingcombe Meadows by Mark Heighes

Spring Walk 4: Hambledon Hill, near Blandford Forum

Hambledon Hill really does give you the chance to blow the winter cobwebs away – stride along the ramparts of the Iron Age hillfort for a good helping of fresh air and the joys of Spring!

Once you’ve had your fill of and stunning views across Dorset, lower your gaze and keep your eyes peeled – this National Nature Reserve is home to at least five species of orchids including the early purple, bee, pyramidal, common spotted and autumn lady’s tresses.

Keep an eye out for glow worms and brown hares too as you follow the footpaths that circle the hill.

For more information about this special site, visit the National Trust website.

Hambledon Hill, taken by Mark Simons

Spring Walk 5: Butterflies at Giant Hill, Cerne Abbas

With the spring flowers bursting into life on Dorset’s chalk grasslands comes the chance to see some rare and beautiful butterflies.

Giant Hill at Cerne Abbas has short walks with great views, with the added bonus of having an enormous chalk giant to welcome you to the area!

Keep your eyes peeled for a wealth of butteflies, including the Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillary butterflies as well as the Green Hairstreak, Common Blue, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers found on Giant Hill. Find out more on the Butterfly Conservation website

Find information to explore Giant Hill here

Duke of Burgundy butterfly basking on leaf at Cerne Hill, taken by Anna Barwick

And there's still time to take in the smells of our springtime woods!

And when the bluebells begin to fade, track down some of our ancient woodlands in Dorset for a heady mix of Wild Garlic, cow parsley, wood anemone and campion along woodland rides. Suggestions from the team include Langdon Wood, Powerstock Common and you’re bound to see them in the land verges too.

Wild garlic in woods near Milton Abbas, taken by Sedat Ozkanca