Greenhill Down Nature Reserve
Unimproved rough pasture with veteran trees, mixed scrub and coppice woodland, chalk downland slopes and a restored dew pond.
This quiet hill-top reserve commands impressive views over the surrounding valley. The area was once part of an 18th century Deer Park, with magestic veteran trees fringing the pasture and hazel copse. On the steeper slopes, where chalk is exposed, uncommon plants such as rock-rose and dwarf thistle come through in a shorter, finer grassland and butterflies such as brown argus, grizzled and dingy skipper may be found.
A restored dew pond sits on the western boundary of the reserve now supporting a range of damsel and dragonflies and both palmate and great-crested newt. The ancient trees, hedgerow and woodland support a good list of bird species including a number of summer migrants.
Leave the A354 at Milborne St. Andrew, following signs for Milton Abbas, then Hilton. If arriving by car you will need to park in Hilton village but please do not obstruct the church. Walk up the road directly opposite church for about a mile following as it becomes a track way. Enter the reserve through the gate at the end of the track.
Access and safety
Allow at least 15 minutes to reach the reserve from the village. The access track is fairly steep and can be muddy on the last stretch. The reserve is mostly on sloping ground, though there are some flatter areas across the top of the site the slopes are increasingly steep away from this and it can be especially steep and slippery in the hazel copse which is accessed by a single stile on the northern edge. The ground is rough and uneven in parts. Please be aware of the risk of falling branches - especially from the veteran trees - in or following strong winds. The dew pond is fenced out but is accessed by a stile.
Grazing animals are on the site for much of the year and ticks may be present, particularly in the longer grass. For more information on visiting DWT Nature Reserves, including more on general countryside hazards such as ticks, please see our Visitor Information page.
Species and habitats
Ancient trees, hedgerow, unimproved netural to calcareous grassland, scrub, hazel coppice.
Green woodpecker, treecreeper, dormouse, dingy skipper, grizzled skipper, marbled white, glow worm, great-crested newt, dwarf thistle, common rock-rose, harebell.
Nearby nature reserves
Nature reserve map
Contains derived data © Crown copyright and database right 2012.Ordnance Survey LA100019790.
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