Valley of Stones National Nature Reserve

I have only had a very quick visit to this site so can only say the views alone are worth a visit

 

Site Name Valley of Stones National Nature Reserve
Protection
  • National Nature Reserve
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
2
County Dorset
More Information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dorsets-national-nature-reserves/dor…
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1001018…
Site Projects
Valley of Stones National Nature Reserve

Valley of Stones: rock on -

Along the western coast line of Dorset between Weymouth and Bridport is a high ridge formed (if I read the geological map correctly) of chalk and limestones. Behind Portesham there is a gap, or valley, in the ridge and this forms the National Nature Reserve called the Valley of Stones.

This, according to the Natural England information for the site, "is considered to be one of the finest examples of a Sarsen stone boulder train in Great Britain. Freeze/thaw conditions at the end of the last ice age caused sandstone on top of the nearby chalk hilltops to fragment and slump downhill." The site is not only of natural interest and geological interest but of historic interest too with links to megalithic times.

To the casual observer there does not appear to be much to see other than fine views along the Dorset coast. The boulders, though, are covered in lichens, some of which are very rare. The grass is somewhat rough and ready and I did not find much of interest although there is a good colony of Adonis blue butterflies here apparently.

What I did find interesting (but then I suppose I am a bit odd) is that despite this being chalk and limestone when I analysed the plants I found there were a good number associated with acid soils rather than alkaline calcareous soils. I am sure there is a good reason for this but as I am no expert I have no idea why!

Being some distance from my home and being heavy going under foot I have not really given this site the attention it deserves; I must do better.  

Valley of Stones National Nature Reserve

50.689604219659, -2.5654415477937
National Nature Reserve, Site of Scientific Interest
2
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

13
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

11
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

9
A2

Scrub

8
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
D3

Lichen/Bryophyte heath

6
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

17
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

16
CG01

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

15
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

15
CG07

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

15
CG10

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

14
MG05

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

14
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

13
MG06

Lolium perenne - Cynosurus cristatus [Perennial ryegrass/Crested dog's tail] grassland

9
W10

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

8
Site Notables
Displaying 1 - 2 of 2
Site Diary
Project:
Diary Date Sort descending Notes Project Click for records and photos
19-08-12

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view
The number of species recorded per species group: