Walk at Holt Heath, Kingston Lacy

Walking trail

The walk explores this important lowland heath, which is one of the largest areas of its type in Dorset. Acquired in the 1630s by Sir John Bankes as part of Kingston Lacy's estate, it is now cared for by the National Trust. Local plants include common heather, bell heather, cross-leaved heath, bog asphodel, sundews and marsh gentian. Birds include large populations of Dartford warbler, stonechat, curlew and nightjar. All six of Britain's reptile species are found here. There are waymarks for Walk 12 on the route.

Beautiful yellow gorse


Map route for Kingston Lacy Holt Heath walk


White Sheet car park; grid ref: SU048037


Leave White Sheet car park and enter the fenced area to the north through a gate into the plantation and past the notice board. Continue straight, ignoring a right fork. When you reach a T-junction with another path turn right as directed by the way mark.


The track passes beehives, cattle pens and a fenced area. Ignoring the gate on the right, continue straight ahead. On reaching a crossroads of paths keep going straight.


On reaching a T-junction of paths by the road turn right as directed by the way mark. Follow the path and on reaching a fork you can carry straight on for the shorter route. To stay with the main walk, turn left here and almost immediately right to follow the bridleway between the paddocks.


On exiting the bridle way, go straight across the gravel track and enter the Heath on the narrow dirt track, then left onto a wider sandy path. Ignoring the path almost immediately on your right, following the edge of the heath in an easterly direction towards a small hill (Summerlug).

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Skirt the bottom of the hill keeping the open heath on your right where you might see some interesting birdlife. Turn right at the utility posts and following the fence line, through a wooded area, until Newman’s Lane is reached on a bend. Take a sharp right, following the footpath over a boardwalk. The cross-heath path continues over boggy ground.


Turn right at a pond and then left at the junction, briefly re-joining the outward track before veering left. In a short while, passing houses on the right, and going through a gate onto a permissive path. The ground varies from dry to wet heath with bogs or valley mires. Keep your eyes wide open as these important habitats are home to all six species of Britain’s reptiles.

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Turn left to rejoin the shorter walk, carrying straight on towards the south, following the edge of the marshy land. Continue straight on as the bridle way turns off to the right. There are interesting plants by the track.

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The walk meanders down to the heath’s southern edge, crossing a stream and through a gate. Turn immediately right on the track following the fence line and on meeting another track turn right.


At the next public access gate, pass through and turn left, through another gate and return to the car park.


White Sheet car park; grid ref: SU048037

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Walk at Holt Heath, Kingston Lacy


The bridleways and footpaths can become rutted, with the eastern sector in part on elevated ground crossing the important heathland mire. Grazing of animals is part of the management of this rare habitat, so dogs should be kept under effective control. Stout footwear is recommended and boardwalks can become slippery in wet conditions. The lower-lying terrain can appear deceptively firm and you are advised to keep to the paths and tracks.

Walk at Holt Heath, Kingston Lacy

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Walk at Holt Heath, Kingston Lacy

How to get here

Holt Heath, near Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 7DB
By road

Travel east from the Canford Bottom roundabout on the A31 on the outskirts of Wimborne. After about a quarter of a mile, turn left into Uddens Drive where it is signed towards Holt. Follow the windy lane for about three miles and then turn right towards Broom Hill. Follow the road for about another three miles. On a sharp left-hand bend, turn right into White Sheet car park, which is free.

Walk at Holt Heath, Kingston Lacy

Facilities and access

  • Free car park
  • On the far side of the Heath, on the road to Three-Legged Cross, there is The Cross Keys Inn (not National Trust)