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St Catherines Hill

At 53m above sea level, St Catherine's Hill is the highest area of Christchurch, with the most spectacular views.

St Catherine's Hill is to the north of Christchurch and is bordered by Town Common Nature Reserve and the Wessex Way.

The hill’s 35ha of heathland and coniferous forest is home to many important wildlife species. As well as wildlife watching, it’s a popular area for dog walking, hiking, cycling and horse riding.

The site forms part of a larger area of sensitive heathland that is jointly by the us and the RSPB, Dorset Wildlife Trust and The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Urban Heaths Partnership also provide supplementary wardens for the site.

The Friends of St Catherine's Hill run a full programme of events relating to the site.

Management plan

The St Catherine's Hill management plan covers a 10-year period to 2022. It sets out the future management for St Catherine's Hill and part of Town Common, covering the western slopes and plateau on top of the hill. There are maps relating to the management plan.

Getting there

Nearest town


Grid reference

SZ 141 953

Nearest train station


Nearest bus stop

The Grove Bus route X1/X2 runs close to the site and it’s possible to walk from Christchurch train station. Access is generally from the western side of the site.


There’s a small car park at the bottom of St Catherine's Hill Lane/Marsh Lane and on roads in the surrounding area.


Viewpoint seating looking towards the Isle of Wight, Ringwood and the Bournemouth area. Several interpretation panels and notice boards can be found around the site.


Steep slopes, paths either gravel or sand.

Site designations

Site of Special Scientific Interest

Local Nature Reserve


Heathland and coniferous forest.

Look out for

  • Dartford warblers
  • sand lizards
  • smooth snake
  • adders
  • nightjars
  • hobbies
  • grayling
  • silver-studded blue
  • scarce chaser
  • white-legged damselfly.

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