A beautiful downland coombe on the west of the chalk ridge six miles north of Dorchester, with sweeping views over Cattistock towards Eggardon Hill and the coast.
The site is leased to Butterfly Conservation by Wessex Water who have a pumping station and boreholes here, and is managed with a small suckler herd of cattle with calves. The grassland has been protected from agricultural improvement, so the chalk sward is flower rich and very varied, and supports over 30 species of butterflies. Several years of light grazing have brought about a considerable improvement in the floral richness of the grassland and with it an increase in the numbers of certain butterfly species, notably the threatened Marsh Fritillary. As on many downland sites, the main management targets here involve reducing and containing the blocks of gorse and other scrub, and controlling unwanted weed species like Ragwort and Creeping Thistle.
Educational Access: To find out about opportunities for schools and other groups to visit this reserve for free, see our Education Services page. See our Events pages for guided walks and Conservation Action Days.
Habitat and features
Downland grassland, chalk sward
What to see
Brown Argus, Marsh Fritillary, Adonis Blue, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Small Heath
Wood Tiger, Cistus Forester
Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Kestrel, Hobby, Raven
TIP Click thumbnails to view full-size images.
Entrance to Lankham Bottom reserve
Lankham Bottom. Photo: Lawrie de Whalley
Ponies grazing Lankham Bottom reserve. Photo: Nigel Spring
Lankham: putting in a new fence. Photo: Nigel Spring.