Purbeck Ridge (Ridgeway Hill and Steeple Hill)

The central section of the Purbeck Ridge from the Cocknowle gap in the east to Creech view point in the west

 

Site Name Purbeck Ridge (Ridgeway Hill and Steeple Hill)
Protection
  • Open Access
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
4
County Dorset
More Information
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S2000303…
Site Projects
Purbeck Ridge (Ridgeway Hill and Steeple Hill)

Ridgeway Hill and Steeple Hill: sheer folly -

There are three things you can be guaranteed when you walk the Purbeck Ridge path from Lulworth to Ballard Down. The first is fantastic views, not only along the dramatic Dorset coastline but also inland across Poole harbour and off to the hills in the north of Dorset. Secondly, some difficult walking in places where the path descends down the escarpment and then up again to the top, especially around Corfe Castle. Thirdly, of course, ample natural interest.

The top of the Purbeck Ridge is generally improved agricultural grazing, as far as I can ascertain due to the desperate times of the second world war. The Ridge is still a prime site for flowers and insects but you have to look on the steep slopes of the sunny southern side to find it. These slopes are so steep they could not be used for farming and so remain fairly natural. The Ridge, being chalk, has a number of rare calcareous soil loving flowers and an interesting array of butterflies, grasshoppers and bush crickets.

The stretch from the Creech View car park eastwards along Ridgeway Hill to Cucknowle provides all three of these features along with a folly, the Grange Arch. What more could you ask for from a walk on a nice summers day?  

Purbeck Ridge (Ridgeway Hill and Steeple Hill)

50.637263732039, -2.1224844431504
Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
4
These are the habitat types that MAY be present on the site based on the species recorded there (top 10 only shown):
Phase 1 Habitat Types Description No of Species
D1

Dwarf Shrub Heath

20
H6

Sand Dunes

16
B3

Calcareous Grassland

15
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

14
J1

Cultivated/disturbed land

13
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
A2

Scrub

10
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

10
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
These are the number of species for NVC codes on the site - it DOES NOT mean that the NVC community is actually present on the site: it might be! (Top 10 only shown):
NVC Community Description No of Species
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

25
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

24
MG05

Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland

22
CG02

Festuca ovina - Helictotrichon pratense [Sheep's Fescue/Meadow Oat-grass] grassland

22
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

21
CG07

Festuca ovina - Pilosella officinarum - Thymus polytrichum [Sheeps Fescue/Mouse-ear hawkweed/Wild Thyme] grassland

21
CG01

Festuca ovina - Calluna vulgaris [Sheeps Fescue/Ling] grassland

19
CG10

Festuca ovina - Agrostis capillaris - Thymus polythricus [Sheeps Fescue/Common Bent/Wild Thyme] grassland

14
W10

Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland

12
W08

Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland

12
The number of species recorded per species group: