Haydon Hill Nature Reserve
Unimproved downland slopes with haymeadow.
Just down the road from the Dorset Wildlife Trust's headquarters at Brooklands Farm this reserve occupies a steep north-facing slope of unimproved chalk grassland in the River Cerne valley. It supports a diverse range of plants, including red clover, autumn gentian, squinancywort and harebell. Barn owl, kestrel and buzzards prey on the numerous voles and shrews here and common blue, marbled white and orange tip are amongst the butterflies found.
The haymeadow on the flatter part of the site had previously undergone some agricultural improvement. Following restoration management it is gradually diversifying again with increasing numbers and types of wildflowers recorded.
Head north from Charminster on the A352 Dorchester to Cerne Abbas road. About 2 miles up the road look for a small pull-off car parking area on the left.
Access and safety
Enter the reserve through the gate at the base of the hill and head up and across the slopes to find the grassland of most interest, or pass through the gate immediately to your right to explore the relatively flat haymeadow area. Gates at the top and middle of the hill give access to the smaller sloping field and a stile gives access between this and the haymeadow. The slopes are fairly steep and uneven ground may be encountered. Badgers are active across the site, resulting in a scatter of holes which are sometimes hidden under longer vegetation. Keep away from larger trees along the hedgerows and out in the field after strong winds.
Thanks to the deer that regularly graze these slopes in the evening, there can be high levels of ticks, particularly in the longer grass, so please take precautions. Grazing animals are on the site for much of the year. 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
Unimproved calcareous grassland, neutral hay meadow, mature hedgerow, trees and scrub.
Betony, devil's-bit scabious, autumn gentian, harebell, small scabious, roe deer, badger, bulfinch, linnet, song thrush, yellowhammer, brown argus, common blue, dingy skipper.
Nearby nature reserves
Nature reserve map
Contains derived data © Crown copyright and database right 2012.Ordnance Survey LA100019790.
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