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Durlston NNR has a variety of habitats, including sea cliffs, coastal limestone downland, hay meadows, hedgerows and woodland. There is an amazing diversity of wildlife: 33 species of breeding butterfly, over 250 species of birds, 500 wildflowers, 500 moths and thousands of other invertebrates. The reason for Durlston’s natural riches lies in its mosaic of nationally important wildlife habitats, each with their characteristic plants and animals. In winter ducks and divers from the Arctic appear, in spring and autumn terns and skuas, and in summer gannets and shearwaters. You may also see bottlenose dolphins or a seal emerging from the waves. In the late autumn the sky will be filled with huge flocks of Africa-bound swallows, martins and wagtails. Wildlife to look out for includes guillemots, fulmars, whitethroats, stonechat, skylarks, peregrine falcon; early spider plus eight other orchids, early English gentian, cowslip and thrift, while butterflies include Adonis blue, Lulworth skipper and marbled white.

Awards, Accolades & welcome Schemes

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Quality Assured Visitor Attraction
Durlston National Nature Reserve
Swanage
Phone : 01929 424443

Features

About The area

Discover Dorset

Dorset means rugged varied coastlines and high chalk downlands. Squeezed in among the cliffs and set amid some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery is a chain of picturesque villages and seaside towns. Along the coast you’ll find the Lulworth Ranges, which run from Kimmeridge Bay in the east to Lulworth Cove in the west. Together with a stretch of East Devon, this is Britain’s Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, noted for its layers of shale and numerous fossils embedded in the rock. Among the best-known natural landmarks on this stretch of the Dorset coast is Durdle Door, a rocky arch that has been shaped and sculpted to perfection by the elements. The whole area has the unmistakable stamp of prehistory.

Away from Dorset’s magical coastline lies a landscape with a very different character and atmosphere, but one that is no less appealing. Here, winding, hedge-lined country lanes lead beneath lush, green hilltops to snug, sleepy villages hidden from view and the wider world. The people of Dorset are justifiably proud of the achievements of Thomas Hardy, its most famous son, and much of the county is immortalised in his writing. 

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