Spring awakening

A male sand lizard showing his spring colouring © Ross Hoddinott

A male sand lizard showing his spring colouring

Reptiles are emerging from hibernation, including this male sand lizard with the distinctive bright green flashes he wears for the mating season.

Other cold blooded Studland residents include slow worms, adders, grass snakes and rare smooth snakes.

Spring can be the best time to spot them basking in sunny spots on the heaths and dunes.

New Growth

The Primrose Path in Studland, Dorset © National Trust/Will Wilkinson

The Primrose Path in Studland, Dorset

Fresh new leaves on the trees and wildflowers in the woodland herald the arrival of spring in Studland.

Silver birches on the heath and primroses under the trees near Little Sea signal that winter is over.

The warmer weather means new sights, sounds and smells everywhere you look.

Dartford warbler

A Dartford warbler perched on heather © northeastwildlife.co.uk

A Dartford warbler perched on heather

Look out for these small dark birds flitting between gorse bushes or perching on top to sing.

The Dartford warbler is a national success story after being brought back from the brink of extinction, and Studland is one of its strongholds.

Spring also brings flying visitors, including chiffchaff and willow warblers.

Yours to explore

Children hunting bugs on the Sand Dunes Trail

Children hunting bugs on the Sand Dunes Trail

Follow the Woodland Walk or the Sand Dunes Trail or try one of four hides overlooking Little Sea and Poole Harbour - look out for marker posts.

The beach and dunes, together with Studland and Godlingston Heaths, form a National Nature Reserve with top level protection under European law and international conventions.

Cyril Diver Project

In the 1930s Cyril Diver brought Studland to the attention of the scientific community and helped lay the foundations of modern ecological fieldwork in the process.

Today a new generation is following in his footsteps to create a unique record of how the habitat has changed over time.

Click on the link below to find out how you can be a part of the Cyril Diver Project.

Snakes alive

A smooth snake

All six native British reptiles live at Studland: sand lizards, common lizards, slow worms, grass snakes, adders and the rare smooth snakes.

Wildfowl wonders

Male teal

Little Sea supports a large number of wintering wildfowl, including pochards, teals, goldeneyes, pintails, tufted ducks, shovelers, gadwalls and coots.

Here be dragons

Hairy Dragonfly, commonly seen over ditches in floodplain of Cuckmere River

Spectacular invertebrates to spot at Studland include 20 species of dragonfly and damselfly, and rare butterflies including silver washed fritillaries and white admirals.