Area: 8.5 hectares.
New site. Within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Description and Reasons for Notification:
These fields, lying on the Lower Fullers Earth Clay and Corallian Beds, support an exceptionally diverse flora reflecting a long history of traditional management for hay. A stretch of disused railway line with a rich bank flora is also included in this site.
Sixteen species of grasses are present including frequent meadow fescue Festuca pratensis, downy oat Avenula pubescens and quaking grass Briza media. Several sedges occur, with glaucous sedge Carex flacca the most widespread. Adder’s-tongue fern Ophioglossum vulgatum, an indicator of old grassland is locally abundant, particularly in the most eastern field.
Among the numerous flowering plants of these meadows are cowslip Primula veris, knapweed Centaurea nigra, ox-eye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare, rough hawkbit Leontodon hispidus, hoary ragwort Senecio erucifolius and pepper saxifrage Silaum silaus. Several orchids occur: green-winged orchid Orchis morio flowers in the early summer and is followed by common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii, pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis and bee orchid Ophrys apifera. Hedges containing a variety of trees and shrubs add diversity to the site with ash Fraxinus excelsior, pedunculate oak Quercus robur, maple Acer campestre , blackthorn Prunus spinosa, hazel Corylus avellana and dogwood Cornus sanguinea.
The railway bank supports scrub and drier calcareous swards dominated by red fescue Festuca rubra and false brome Brachypodium sylvaticum with the local dyer’s greenweed Genista tinctoria particularly abundant. Other herbs of the railway bank include hoary plantain Plantago media, hairy violet Viola hirta, marjoram Origanum vulgare and yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor.