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Leigh Common and BytheWay Field

Leigh Common and neighbouring BytheWay Field provide a well used recreation facility for the people of Wimborne and Colehill.

Leigh Common was once an extensive area of wet grasslands and meadows, with ponds and ditches, used as a holding area by cattle traders on their way to Wimborne market. Grazing on the common declined around 40 years ago, and since then most of the site has 'scrubbed up', with the development of willow carr woodland and some drier stands of oak. Recently we have introduced light grazing to the site and are reducing the amount of scrub.

BytheWay Field is East Dorset's first SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space). SANGs are designed to offer a purpose-built outdoor recreation facility. This area is largely cut for hay in the summer.


There is a permanent self-led orienteering course available, which uses QR codes compatible with a smart phone and the iOrienteering app. The app can be downloaded via the iOrienteering website (opens in a new window) or from the App Store or Google Play. All instructions on how to use iOrienteering is included in the app. You will need the QR code for this course which is included on the ByTheWay Orienteering map and instructions (pdf, 382kb) (opens in a new window).

If schools or groups would like an instructor-led session please contact the Health and Activity team -

Nearest TownWimborne/Colehill
Look out forSouthern marsh orchid, marsh st johns wort and ragged robin are all locally rare plants found at Leigh Common, along with insects such as long-winged conehead and common blue damselfly. Look out for grey heron and swallow. Several species of dragonfly can be found around the wet ponds and extensive ditch systems throughout the site.
HabitatsWet grassland with some areas of tree cover
Site designations

Local Nature Reserve, Sustainable Alternative Natural Green Space

Nearest bus stopLeigh Road, Wilts and Dorset bus route - information about bus services
Nearest train stationPoole (6.5 miles) - information about train services
Grid referenceSU 026 000
Size21 hectares
ParkingLimited parking at BytheWay Field

Access to site is via squeeze stiles, some uneven narrow paths, much of the site has wooden boardwalk over boggy area. Between BytheWay and Leigh Common there is over 4km of all-weather surfaced paths which are suitable for mobility scooters, buggies and wheelchairs and form circular routes.

FacilitiesBenches, dog bins at main entrances. A fantastic new play area was opened in summer 2016, close to the site car park. Permanent orienteering course for groups or self-led.
OwnerEast Dorset District Council
Managed byChristchurch and East Dorset Countryside Team

How to get there:

From Wimborne, follow the B3073 (Leigh Road) out of Wimborne, heading east towards Canford Bottom. Turn left into the carpark just after Topps Day Nursery.

From Colehill, follow Wimborne Road towards the town centre, turn left onto Northleigh Lane, at the T-junction turn left onto Leigh Road (B3073) turn left into the carpark just after Topps Day Nursery. 

  1. Leigh Common and BytheWay Field
  1. Leigh Common and BytheWay Field
  2. Leigh Common and BytheWay Field
  3. Black tailed skimmer


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