Hambledon Hill National Nature Reserve



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Hambledon Hill NNR, with its sinuously contoured Iron Age hillfort northwest of Blandford, is an exceptional place for wildlife. The unimproved grasslands are home to wildflowers like the rare early gentian, found on the shallower soils of the western slopes, and the delicate white flowers of meadow saxifrage on the deeper soils on top of the hillfort. In late May, the slopes are covered with the vivid yellow of horseshoe vetch and the pinks and blues of milkwort. In midsummer, pink pyramidal orchids and bee orchids come into flower alongside many other plants, including squinancy wortand lady’s bedstraw. Late summer flowers include the delicate white spirals of autumn lady’s tresses, and mauve devil’sbit scabious. In early summer, Hambledon supports a good range of butterflies, such as dingy skipper and grizzled skipper. Two of Britain’s rarer butterflies, the chalk hill blue and the Adonis blue, occur on the south and southwest-facing slopes, their caterpillars feeding on the tiny horseshoe vetch. Skylarks soar above the hill alongside buzzards, linnets and yellowhammers among the scrub.

Hambledon Hill National Nature Reserve
Gold Hill


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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