Fontmell Down

Large chalk downland valley near Fontmell Magna

This superb chalk downland site is a large valley of 145 acres. 31 species of butterfly are regularly recorded, plus 7 others seen at odd times.

Site Details

Near Fontmell Magna (South of Shaftesbury)  
Butterfly species include
  • Silver-spotted Skipper
  • Dingy Skipper
  • Grizzled Skipper
  • Small Blue
  • Common Blue
  • Brown Argus
  • Chalkhill Blue
  • Adonis Blue
  • Dark Green Fritillary
  • Marbled White
  • Gatekeeper
  • Meadow Brown
  • Small Heath
View of the silver spots on the underwing of this butterfly
Moth species
  • Barred Tooth-striped Moth
  • Mother Shipton (day-flying)
  • Bruente Companion (day-flying)
  • Wood Tiger (day-flying)
  • Five and Six Spot Burnets (day-flying)

Mother Shipton moth, showing the hag's face made by the wing markings.

Mother Shipton moth. Photo: Mel Bray

Other species
  • Orchids
  • Yellowhammer
  • Skylark
  • Dormouse
Habitat type/features

Chalk Downland

Site of Special Scientific Interest


Grid ref: ST88/17 (OS Landranger Sheet 183; Explorer series 118).

From A350 Shaftesbury-Blandford road at Fontmell Magna, turn east up the minor road signposted for Ashmore. Park before reaching the crossroads at the top of the steep hill.



National Trust
Dorset Wildlife Trust