A remnant of chalk grassland on ancient earthworks providing an almost overwhelming display of flowers and butterflies.
Cashmoor Down: a floral tribute -
My travels around the nature reserve and wildlife hotspots of Dorset have revealed many delightful surprises, none more so than Cashmoor Down. I had little expectation and so left visiting this site until well down my list (number 178!) and then I left it until late in the season so it was not at its best but, even in late summer, the flora is amazing! Sadly the butterflies were well past their best though.
The visit has a rather innocuous start, an uphill pathway improved for cars because at the top is Wimborne Model Aircraft Flying Club. However, following the path on past the flying club the landscape changes and the flowers start to impress. Further on still and one is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of flowers, especially yellow-rattle and wild basil. Butterflies flit to and fro looking for nectar and bumblebees do what bumblebees do!
There is evidence of ancient earthworks here although nothing is shown on the Ordnance Survey map but obviously the presence of historical earth walls means that the area has escaped agricultural improvement and the ground has lain undisturbed for centuries; it is that that creates such extensive floral displays. I am not sure owns the site but I believe Butterfly Conservation are involved in its management. If that is the case then well done Dorset Butterfly Conservation on yet another first class project.
|NVC Community||Description||No of Species|
Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland
Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Festuca ovina - Helictotrichon pratense [Sheep's Fescue/Meadow Oat-grass] grassland
Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland
Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland
Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland
Festuca ovina - Pilosella officinarum - Thymus polytrichum [Sheeps Fescue/Mouse-ear hawkweed/Wild Thyme] grassland
Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Festuca ovina - Calluna vulgaris [Sheeps Fescue/Ling] grassland
Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub