Dorset is featured in a new guide to the UK’s top sites to see wild orchids. These jewels among our wild flowers have their finest hour in spring and summer, when their colours erupt across unspoilt meadows, downs and woods. The Wildlife Trusts’ new downloadable guide "40 places to see orchids" lists some of The Wildlife Trusts’ best reserves for the wild flowers around the UK, including Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Fontmell Down nature reserve.
How many Orchids could I find on the reserve?
There are around 50 species of orchid in the UK, ranging from the common spotted orchid to the rare early spider orchid. Fontmell Down is an exceptional site for wild flowers, with several different orchid species on display in spring and summer, including the spring-flowering early purple orchid followed by later species, such as the bee orchid and pyramidal orchid. It is possible to find up to seven different orchid species in flower at the same time on the reserve.
Nicky Hoar, Communications Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Dorset is a great place to see wild orchids as it has such a variety of suitable habitats, from the chalk grassland at Fontmell Down in the north to the neutral grassland of Corfe Mullen Meadows with its green-winged orchids and the classic unspoilt hay meadows of Kingcombe with their stunning displays. It is not for nothing that our logo features an orchid, the exquisite early spider orchid, which can be found on the Purbeck cliffs and in our Townsend reserve near Swanage.”
Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “The Wildlife Trusts have long been the guardians of some of our rarest wild orchids…reserves are fantastic for seeing a variety of orchid species, all of which are beautiful, and indicators of a healthy grassland environment.
When is the best time to look for Orchids?
We hope our new guide will inspire visits to these reserves, and spark a desire to help protect them through supporting local Wildlife Trusts and their Living Landscape schemes, which aim to restore and recreate declining habitats such as wildflower meadows.”
Look for orchids from April to June, with early purple and early spider orchids appearing first. You can also join a guided walk with Dorset Wildlife Trust at Fontmell Down on Sunday 12th June. Booking is essential on 01305 264620.
You can download the Wildlife Trusts’ guide to orchid sites
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Nicky Hoar at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
For our latest news subscribe to our RSS feed
About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Read our Blog "Wildlife Matters"
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) www.wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.