Dodnor Dicksons

Dodnor Creek & Dickson’s Copse

Adjoining the Medina Estuary this reserve contains an interesting array of habitats and is particularly important for migratory birds who feed on the rich estuary mud. The site is easily accessible by bike and on foot and is linked via an attractive circular walk with our nearby Medina Riverside site.

Dodnor Creek Local Nature Reserve (LNR) consists of two distinct habitats — Dodnor Creek and Dicksons Copse. It is highly designated with Ramsar, SSSI and SINC designations, as well as being adjacent to an SPA and SAC. It is particularly important as a high roost for wading birds in the winter. Dickson’s Copse is listed in the Island’s Ancient Woodland Inventory.


There is a circular path round the site, accessed through a  kissing gate; It can be wet and muddy in places so strong boots or shoes are recommended for walking round it. The cycle-track provides a good vantage point for bird watching and is level and well surfaced.

The historic cement kilns on the north-east of the site cannot normally be visited, but are visible through the protective fence alongside the cycle track.

What to look out for

Dodnor Creek

The old millpond, fringed by willow scrub and reed beds, is home to many species of bird. Mallard, coot and swans are regularly seen nesting there. Swallows and swifts swoop and soar over the water catching insects in midsummer. In the autumn and winter, the squeaky call of the water rail can be heard in the reedbeds, and if you are lucky you will see the flash of azure wings as kingfishers dart over the creek.

Dicksons Copse

The copse is located on the eastern side of the nature reserve and is typically made up of ash, oak, field maple with a rich understorey of more shrubby trees including of hazel, spindle and crab apple. In spring, flowers such as primroses, bugle and narrow leaved lungwort are found on the woodland floor. In summer, white water lilies make a fine show on the pond and there are speckled wood butterflies in the glades. Part of Dicksons Copse is ancient woodland and contains 28 species of plants which help us identify it as such. These include the nationally rare narrow-leaved lungwort and the soft-shield and polypody ferns. The woodland supports a wide variety of mammals including red squirrels dormice and bats. At the heart of the copse is the pond which has a spectacular colony of white water lilies, best seen in flower during June. Many dragonfly and damselfly species have been recorded here.

The Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeological Society have surveyed the Dickson’s Copse for us this autumn and produced this wonderful list  of fungi.



Dodnor Rediscovered

The Island 2000 Trust will be delivering a new project in 2017-18 worth over £63000 after securing grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Vestas Technology UK. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players and donated by the local wind turbine technology firm, the project aims to conserve and enhance the historic cement kilns at Dodnor known as the Mummies’ Caves, and improve the nature reserve at Dodnor Creek.

We want your help! We’re looking for volunteers to work with us throughout 2018. If you’re interested in any of these things, get in touch!

  • Practical conservation work in the nature reserve
  • Working with professional archaeologists to help record and investigate the historic kilns
  • Looking into the old records of the site

Tesco Bags of Help 2018: Dodnor Creek & Dicksons Copse Discovery

It’s time to vote for Isle of Wight nature again! Our project at Dodnor Creek has been shortlisted for a public vote in Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative. Vote for us to win the top prize in store! So from 8th January don’t forget to ask your till assistant for a token, and put it in the box for Dodnor Creek & Dicksons Copse Discovery.

Alongside the Mummies Caves project we are hoping to improve the nature reserve, with better paths and signs. At the moment there is an informal path around the reserve, but it is ill-defined and parts get very wet, particularly in the winter.

We want to improve and encourage access but in a way that prevents birds disturbance and benefits the flora and fauna of both the wetland and woodland habitats. A better surfaced and marked path will enable easier and safer access for people and will also stop trampling. It will give us the opportunity for low key interpretation along the route — telling people where to stop to spy the red squirrels, day-flying owls, winter wading birds and spectacular orchids.

How to get there

On foot/By bikeThe Red Squirrel Trail (NCN 23) goes right over the site on a former railway viaduct Access into the site is from the footpath leading from the north side of the viaduct down to the riverside path.

By bus – Stag Inn Stop (Route 1) + 20 min walk. (Bus Timetables)

By Car – There is no road access to the site or car park. Limited on street parking is available at Stag Lane near the junction with the cycle track where the approximate code for your sat nav is PO30 5TR, or you can park at Medina Riverside and walk from there.

Get Involved

There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on conservation volunteers to help with many tasks and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Find out more here.

You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here.