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 nature trail around the site, marked with lovely posts carved by local artist Paul Sivell. In the past the paths have been wet and muddy in places but we have been working hard to rectify this. However, 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. We have interpreted them for you.
What to look out for
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.
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 for fungi and gall leafminers in 2017 and again in autumn 2018. They found a number of species new to the site this year.
The Island 2000 Trust are delivering a new project worth over £65,000 after securing grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Tesco’s Bags of Help and Vestas Technology UK. 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.
Alongside the Mummies Caves project we are improving the nature reserve, with better paths and signs. This helps prevent bird 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. Tesco’s Bags of Help have funded this part of the project.
How to get there
On foot/By bike – The 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.
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.