Area: 108.0 hectares.
Within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Reasons for Notification:
An extensive area of steep chalk slopes with all aspects, presenting an especially good example of calcareous grassland at the western extremity of the chalk.
Most of the site has a short well-grazed turf with sheep’s fescue Festuca ovina, red fescue Festuca rubra and salad burnet Sanguisorba minor the most important constituents and containing many attractive chalk plants. These include squinancy-wort Asperula cynanchica, clustered bellflower Campanula glomerata and a number of species particularly associated with the Western Chalk such as rough hawkbit Leontodon hispidus, betony Stachys officinalis and devil’s-bit Succisa pratensis. Typical of chalk grassland in the west, there is not a great variety of orchids but common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii is very frequent and pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis, fragrant orchid Gymnadenia conopsea and bee orchid Ophrys apifera occur locally.
The sheltered parts of the south-facing downs are especially favourable to butterflies including the very local Adonis blue Lysandra bellargus and small blue Cupido minimus.