If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

19 July, 2013

Site Review: Broadcroft Quarry, Portland

Broadcroft Quarry is a wonderfully untidy place! In our neat and ordered world untidy places are priceless and their chaos is, to my mind anyway, really refreshing and natural.

I suppose Broadcroft Quarry is not actually a natural environment being an area human kind has exploited for mineral extraction in the past but since it was left to its own devices nature has set about recolonising it with grasses and flowers thriving in the thin soil layer. It is even more unnatural as, despite the untidy appearance, it is still a site managed by human beings under the guise of British Butterfly Conservation. Mercifully, of course, this latter management is directly aimed at retaining the site for butterflies in particular, and for nature in general, and our sincere thanks should go to the volunteers who keep this an untidy place ideally suited to our insects that are too readily excluded from much our world by our passion for tidyness.

In mid-summer it is well worth fighting your way through the Weymouth traffic and making your way on to Portland. Portland itself is a unique area and Broadcroft Quarry is one of several places well worth a visit on the isle. There is another Butterfly Conservation reserve just across the raod at Perryfields.

Broadcroft Quarry covers quite a large area and has an interesting and diverse species list. In my view it is a top site!

See more photos and my species list here:
www.natureofdorset.co.uk/sites/broadcroft-quarry-nature-reserve

09 July, 2013

Site Review: Milldown, Blandford

So, let me see; a nature reserve within the town boundary of busy Blandford, bordered on one side by an industrial estate, on another by housing and another by a main road with a school on the opposite side of the road for good measure! It is not going to be up to much then is it? Well think again!

I was a little taken aback by Milldown. Chalk grassland is not a common habitat these days and so to find a large area of it in north west Blandford was not what I expected. Amazingly, you cannot see the road, school, industrial estate or houses and nor can you you really hear any disturbance from them. Yes, the locals walk their dogs there but I have to say the ones I saw were impeccably well behaved and very well managed by their owners.

A good mix of pure grassland with some gentle slopes where the rabbits keep the turf shorter and a good sprinkling of trees and scrub make for a fascinating couple of hours wandering around this delightful spot. Just for good measure, there is a tarmac path running right around it so it can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. In summer expect a colourful display of flowers and lots of butterflies. Thank you North Dorset Council, well managed!

See more photographs and my species list here:
http://www.natureofdorset.co.uk/sites/milldown-nature-reserve

01 July, 2013

Site Review: Turnerspuddle Heath

Unless you have a somewhat obsessive mission to visit every nature reserve and wild place in Dorset you are unlikely to visit Turnerspuddle Heath; indeed you may never even know it exists! There is not much there that you cannot see or hear elsewhere with the notable exception of turtle doves!

If you look for it on an Ordnance Survey map you will see it is named Tonerspuddle Heath but the label on the gate (and the entry on the Dorset County Council web-site) says Turnerspuddle Heath. It is a triangular area, not that large, bounded to the east by the Bovington tank training area and to the south and west by roads. If you do feel moved to visit then try and go at a weekend when the army are not driving tanks around!

Walking across Turnerspuddle Heath I got the feeling that I was the only person ever to do so! That said, the bridle way that you follow was fairly well marked so others must walk or ride that way from time to time. Indeed, I was left to wonder whether T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who lived across the road at Clouds Hill, near Bovington, had strolled that way, or even ridden his motorbike along that very same path some eighty years ago? May be I was treading in famous footsteps .... I will never know.

To see more photographs and my species list click here:
http://www.natureofdorset.co.uk/dorset-wildlife-blog/site-review-turnerspuddle-heath