Cerne Giant Hill

Splendid chalk grass downland habitat

Cerne Giant HillManaged for the welfare of a great variety of butterflies, with 35 species catalogued since formal recording began in 1994.

Although privately owned, butterfly walkers are free to roam northwards to Little Minterne Hill from the area of the Giant enclosure (part owned by the National Trust).

Site Details

Cerne Abbas, West Dorset


Butterfly species include

  • Grizzled Skipper
  • Brimstone (in woody margins)
  • Green Hairstreak (pictured)
  • Small Copper
  • Brown Argus
  • Adonis Blue
  • Holly Blue (in woody margins)
  • Duke of Burgundy
  • Marsh Fritillary
  • Speckled Wood (in woody margins)
  • Wall
  • Marbled White
  • Small Heath
Green Hairstreak

Moth species include

  • Burnet Companion,
  • Cinnabar
  • Five-spot & Six-spot Burnet (Five-spot pictured right)
  • Forester
  • Mother Shipton
  • Oak Eggar
  • Orange Underwing
  • Ruby Tiger

Five spot Burnet moth

Other species include


  • Kestrel
  • Raven
  • Swallow
  • Goldcrest
  • Chiffchaff
  • Siskin


  • Bird’s-foot Trefoil
  • Cowslip
  • Devil’s-bit Scabious
  • Hairy Violet
  • Horseshoe Vetch
  • Kidney Vetch (pictured)
  • Common Knapweed
  • Rock-rose
  • Betony

Habitat type/ features

A very extensive region of sometimes steeply-sloped dominantly ancient chalk downland. Regular cattle grazing is arranged by the land owner, and Butterfly Conservation volunteers contribute scrub and tree clearance during the winter period.

Group of people on a guided walk on Giant Hill


Grid Ref ST 666/016.

From the A352 Sherborne to Dorchester road, turn off at the access to The Giant viewing point car park. Continue towards the village and turn left for the picnic area car park opposite the village hall, OS Map Ref ST663015. Walk over Kettle Bridge, turn left and right along the signed footpath to the gate and stile for the steps which give access to the down.

Entrance to the path onto Giant Hill
Owned by Minterne Estates (Lord Digby).