Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve
MAIDEN NEWTON, DORSET
Hog Cliff NNR is a chalk downland area comprising three separate sites centred on Hog Cliff Hill, and is important for populations of the marsh fritillary butterfly, a rare species throughout Europe. Other butterflies found on the reserve during the summer include the rare Adonis blue, the green hairstreak, common blue, gatekeeper, grizzled skipper and dingy skipper. The grassland supports a wide range of grasses, herbs and flowering plants such as sheep’s fescue, horseshoe vetch, autumn gentian, clustered bellflower, rockrose, small scabious, devil’s bit, chalk milkwort and betony. Over 100 species of fungi have been recorded, including eight species of waxcap. The small areas of ancient coppiced woodland – mostly oak and ash – have an understorey of hazel and field maple. The woodland is particularly important for a range of rare lichens. There is a rich spring ground flora which includes some uncommon plants such as herb Paris and toothwort.
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About The area
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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