Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve

This is a national nature reserve for good reason! A wonderful chalk escarpment near Maiden Newton.

 

Site Name Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve
Protection
  • National Nature Reserve
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
3
County Dorset
More Information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dorsets-national-nature-reserves/dor…
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1002732…
Site Projects
Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve

Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve: worthy of the status -

After seven years exploring the nature reserves of Dorset I thought I had seen the best and the rest had little extra to offer. The Hog Cliff website did not indicate anything special and so visiting it had been left to the 'clearing up' process I have now reached, going to larger but unspectacular places. When I got there I was, frankly, amazed!

Hog Cliff can be found to the west of the Dorchester to Yeovil road approaching the top of Break Heart Hill. There are no signs, there is no car park, you cannot actually see the reserve from the road and you could drive along that stretch of road and never know Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve is there. When you eventually find it the size of the area covered is still not revealed until you descend a bridle way for about a quarter of a mile and when you look to your left there is a chalk escarpment that runs in a curve for as far as you can see. As you go through the gate and on to the reserve you are just overwhelmed by not only the number of flowers and extent of the chalk grassland but also by the diversity of species as well.

Thinking Hog Cliff would be a bit of a walk over I had already spent two hours at nearby Lankham Bottom and was in no state to tackle the full extent of Hog Cliff. My species list that I did get is probably only a fraction of what is there and my photographs do not do it justice. There is only one way to really appreciate Hog Cliff and that is to visit it and that is something I will have to do again soon but next time I will allow myself most of the day!  

Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve

50.771965170186, -2.5431255704489
National Nature Reserve, 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

15
H6

Sand Dunes

14
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

13
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
B2

Neutral Grassland

10
A2

Scrub

9
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

9
J1

Cultivated/disturbed land

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
CG02

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

19
MG05

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

17
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

17
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

16
CG07

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

16
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

15
CG10

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

15
CG01

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

15
W08

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

14
W09

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

13
Site Notables
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
Site Diary
Project:
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
24-06-14

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The number of species recorded per species group:
Title No of Species Recorded
Flowering Plants 78
Insects & other inverts 19
Birds 3
Non-flowering Plants 1