Area: 21.0 (ha.) 51.8 (ac.)
A new site.
Adjacent to Lodmoor Site of Special Scientific Interest
Description and Reasons for Notification:
This site to the north of Weymouth overlays the Oxford Clays of the Jurassic and the associated soils of the Denchworth Series. The area supports a neutral grassland community now much reduced throughout Britain as well as the largest remaining area of semi-natural woodland within the Borough, part of which is ancient in origin.
Among the many grasses which comprise the sward sweet vernal-grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, crested dog’s-tail Cynosurus cristatus, red fescue Festuca rubra, common bentAgrostis capillaris and perennial rye-grassLolium perenne are abundant. Meadow barleyHordeum secalinum and quaking grass Briza media are also frequent, glaucous sedgeCarex flacca is widely distributed and hairy sedgeC. hirta and spring sedgeC. caryophyllea occur locally.
A variety of herbs is present, forming a significant component of the sward. Common bird’s-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus, common knapweedCentaurea nigra, oxeye daisyLeucanthemum vulgaris, red and white cloversTrifolium pratense and T. repens and meadow buttercupRanunculus acris are abundant. Meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis,rough hawkbitLeontodon hispidus and the local pepper saxifrageSilaum silaus are also frequent and generally distributed, as is corky-fruited water dropwortOenanthe pimpinelloides, a plant restricted to central southern England.
A more calcareous influence is evident in places, with lady’s bedstrawGalium verum and salad burnetSanguisorba minor locally frequent and bee orchidOphrys apifera also occurs. Hoary ragwort Senecio erucifolius and strawberry cloverTrifolium fragiferum, which are present, in contrast are typical of heavier, clay pastures.There are also a few wet areas, influenced by a degree of flushing. These are characterised by the presence of jointed rushJuncus articulatus and hard rushJ. inflexus and the herbs bugle Ajuga reptans, meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria and cowslip Primula veris. The local bristle club-rush Isolepis setacea is also frequent here.
The semi-natural woodland of Two-Mile Coppice is dominated by pedunculate oakQuercus robur, ash Fraxinus excelsior and field mapleAcer campestre; English elm Ulmus procera was also formerly important here. There is a diverse under-storey with shrubs including hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, hazel Corylus avellana, guelder rose Viburnum opulus, holly Ilex aquifolium, dogwood Cornus sanguineusand privet Ligustrum vulgare. There is also a rich ground flora which includes frequent stinking iris Iris foetidissima, and, in the wetter areas pendulous sedge Carex pendula. Four orchid species occur, including greater butterfly orchidPlatanthera chlorantha, as does the local tutsan Hypericum androsaemum.
Over 30 species of birds are known to breed within Two-Mile Coppice, and the woodland and herb-rich grassland which it adjoins provide good habitat for insects.