Ballard Down

Visited by many for the walk to Old Harry Rocks but the south facing escarpment slope provides an abundance of flowers and is a prime site for butterflies. 

 

Site Name Ballard Down
Protection
  • National Trust
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
3
County Dorset
More Information https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/sport-leisure/walking/walking-in-purbeck/studl…
SSSI https://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx?startTopic=Designations&activelayer=ss…
Site Projects
Ballard Down

Ballard Down: off to see old Harry -

Lots of people visit Ballard Down each year. It forms the eastern end of the Purbeck Ridge and is well known because Old Harry Rock stands in the sea off the very end of the down. A challenging climb from some directions but the reward is stunning views away to the Isle of Wight in the east and over Poole harbour and on to the north Dorset hills to the west. To the south you can see over Swanage Bay and Durlston Point and way out to sea.

Although the top of the down provides the best views, the south facing escarpment slope provides the best natural interest with an abundance of flowers and it is a prime site for butterflies. Indeed, two of the rarest British butterflies, the adonis blue and the Lulworth skipper can be found here in good numbers along with many other species including the declining wall brown. Amongst the flowers look for autumn lady's tresses in late August/early September.

If you want exercise and good views then head for the top of the down from the Studland side, if you want wildlife then head for the slopes from Ulwell on the Swanage side.  

Ballard Down

50.634102923585, -1.9366609914743
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
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
H6

Sand Dunes

14
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

10
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

10
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
J1

Cultivated/disturbed land

9
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
A2

Scrub

7
J3

Built-up areas

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
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

20
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

20
W08

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

17
CG02

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

16
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

16
CG07

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

15
W09

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

14
CG01

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

14
MG05

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

13
W10

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

13
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes Project Click for records and photos
26-05-13

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19-08-09

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The number of species recorded per species group:
Title No of Species Recorded
Flowering Plants 122
Insects & other inverts 21
Birds 11
Molluscs 1
Fungi & Lichen 1