Walk - Legacy Trail 2 - RSPB Lodmoor

1.5 miles (2.5 km)

Lodmoor Nature Reserve entrance DT4 7SX Lodmoor Nature Reserve entrance

Easy - Flat level ground. There is one seating area at the start of the walk. 

Go for a stroll around RSPB Lodmoor getting up close and personal with an urban wetland.

Although both Lodmoor and Radipole are wetlands, exploring them gives very different experiences. Lodmoor is more open, with shallower water, in contrast to Radipole Lake (circular walk 4) which has  more open water, more reedbed and is very much in the heart of town. As with most of Weymouth and Portland, the landscape is largely man made. Imagine what it would be like without the sea defence. Lodmoor had many uses before the RSPB took over management in the 1980s. Imagine horse racing taking place now, or aeroplanes coming into land!

Much of what you see today has been created by the RSPB. They took over the management of Lodmoor and have deliberately flooded the land. This has created perfect conditions for reeds, and therefore marsh harriers!

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

St Johns Guest House

Lynne & Andy welcome you to St John’s Guest house – a well appointed B&B in Weymouth, providing a luxurious experience just 60 yards from the beach and the SW coast path!

Coastal Hideaway

Cosy cottage 0.6 miles from the SWCP. Perfect location for walkers who want to do the Portland loop as a day hike!

Upton Grange Holiday Cottages

Located within walking distance of Ringstead beach on the Jurassic coast in Dorset, these superbly restored cottages are surrounded by National Trust countryside.

Sea Barn Farm Camping

Sea Barn Farm is probably the most beautiful licensed camping park in Dorset. Its spectacular views of the Fleet Lagoon, Lyme Bay and Jurassic Coast are breath taking. Ad

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Fine Foundation Wild Chesil Centre

Visit our family-friendly visitor centre to discover more about the famous Chesil Beach and Fleet Lagoon which are of national and international importance for wildlife.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the entrance to Lodmoor take the right hand path parallel with the beach.

Depending on the time of year that you visit, the entrance to Lodmoor can be incredibly noisy. In summer you'll be greeted by sights, sounds and smells of over 50 pairs of common terns nesting on small shingle islands. In winter flocks of lapwing and Canada geese feed on the wet grass. Look out for shelduck, they breed here.

Stop at the viewing shelter ...

Whether or not the terns are in town (having come all the way from central and southern Africa), there will be plenty to see. Lots of waterfowl over-winter here, look for waders too. Even though it’s on the edge of town many rarities are found every year.Look up, past Lodmoor, and the land rises into the Lorton Valley largely protected and managed for the benefit of wildlife and people.

  1. Carry on along the path, parallel with the sea, turning left onto a main path called Beechdown Way.

The water gets deeper either side of you. See how the types of animal and plant change (and then when you look further into the reserve you ought to be able to tell which bits are shallow and which are deeper).

  1. Turn left at the end of the path walking on the grass verge along Southdown Avenue.

You get some great views of the reserve here, and the pools in front of you are the last to freeze (come here on a cold morning in winter and you should keep your eyes peeled for rare birds). For several years, bitterns, (a rare bird that looks like a brown heron and nearly went extinct from the UK) have been overwintering. This is a great spot to look for them. Kingfishers are also seen around here from time to time.

In winter, there are sometimes large flocks of starlings roosting in the reedbeds, and they coordinate themselves in large murmurations – a fantastic sight to see and hear.

Carry on along Southdown Avenue and when the road ends enter the reed bed.

This is home for many birds (male reed buntings with their black faces and white collars are easy to see all year round), but that is not all. Come along here at night and see Daubenton's bat flying over the water.

  1. Turn left at the crossroads (turn right and you can head up to Lorton Meadows) and you now have reeds either side of you.

One of the successes of Lodmoor is the breeding of marsh harrier. Rarer than golden eagles, these large birds of prey can be seen gliding over the reeds looking for prey, stay here for long enough and there is a good chance of seeing one overhead.

  1. Turn left when you can and start heading back towards the sea following the route of the Legacy Trail.

Here you get a great intimate feeling of how the habitat changes as you get closer to the sea. The reeds make way for a more open habitat. If you’re very lucky you may get sight of an otter, they've been seen in the ditch to the right of you. The more open areas are fantastic for close up views of birds you would normally need a telescope to see... look for little egrets (small white herons) as these stand out at a distance.

Public transport

Seasonal land Train from Esplanade.


Pay and display car park with toilets and refreshments nearby. 


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