Middlebere Heath

An excellent example of acid grassland, a unique habitat

 

Site Name Middlebere Heath
Protection
  • National Trust
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
3
County Dorset
More Information
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1002993…
Site Projects Exploring Environments 2022
Middlebere Heath

Middlebere Heath: classic acid grassland -

In summer the acid grasslands of Middelebere Heath are awash with flowers and grasses. It may not have the most diverse array of species but for sheer volume of blooms it surpasses many other sites in the area. Although littered with gorse and bramble there are many open areas where these flowers thrive and many of these species are very common, bordering on abundant and make a loively sight. In amongst the common flowers are some interesting ones too but they can take some finding!

This area was once part of the nearby farm and was improved grassland for grazing. The National Trust now own it and have been actively restoring it to a more natural state and they have done so with remarkable success. The heath is still grazed but now only lightly and by horses instead of cattle and this helps keep the growth of gorse, bramble and bracken under control leaving open areas for the flowers and grasses.

From late April through to September this really is a special place and worthy of a couple of hours for a stroll.     

Middlebere Heath

50.657076362028, -2.05183070841
National Trust, Site of Scientific Interest
3
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
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
H6

Sand Dunes

11
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

10
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
A2

Scrub

8
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
D3

Lichen/Bryophyte heath

7
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
W10

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

13
MG05

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

13
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

10
W09

Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland

9
CG02

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

9
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

9
CG10

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

9
W08

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

8
CG01

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

8
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

8
Site Notables
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2
Site Diary
Project:
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
02-10-17

There is no additional information about this visit

view
30-05-19

There is no additional information about this visit

view
04-07-19

There is no additional information about this visit

view
29-07-20

Sunny and warm for a walk on the heath but stil that breeze will not go away:

  • It is very dry, I have never seen so few flowers on Middlebere in summer
  • Common centaury is prospering though, including white ones that I cannot recall seeing before
  • The bee-wolf colony seems to be doing well
view
Project: Exploring Environments 2022
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
12-01-22

Blue skies and sunshine at last and not even really cold either:

  • My first outing as part of my 'exploring environments' project
  • The low sun made visibility difficult at times
  • Hardly a bird to be seen again
Exploring Environments 2022 view
The number of species recorded per species group: