Lydlinch Common

A very important site for the internationally scarce Marsh Fritillary butterfly

Lydlinch CommonIf this butterfly, and other fauna, are to flourish here, the common must be kept from developing into scrub and then woodland, so volunteers of the Dorset Branch of Butterfly Conservation have spent years undertaking scrub clearance

The owners have now received funding and guidance from Natural England to undertake this task on a larger scale. Following approved fencing of the Common, the site is now seasonally lightly grazed by cattle, supported by continuing light scrub clearance by volunteers between September and March - if you would like to join us in this work, see the Events page for information.

Site Details


Sturminster Newton


Butterfly species include

  • Purple Hairstreak
  • White Admiral (low numbers)
  • Silver-washed Fritillary (pictured right, top), including the attractive "Valezina" form of female (pictured right, bottom).
  • Marsh Fritillary,
  • Marbled White
Silver-washed fritillarySilver-washed fritillary (Valezina)
Moth species Over 300 species of macro moth have been recorded here.  
Other species


  • Nightingale (The conservation work being undertaken here includes maintaining stands of blackthorn scrub for the nightingales to nest in.)


  • Devil's-bit Scabious (foodplant for the caterpillars of the Marsh Fritillary)
Habitat type/features

Lydlinch Common consists of a mosaic of herb-rich grassland, scrub and woodland with a rich assemblage of butterflies, moths and flowering plants and is notified as a Site of Special Scientifc Interest (SSSI).

The Blackmoor Vale was once characterised by this habitat, but agricultural improvement has resulted in considerable loss of this declining resource and in the Vale it is now largely confined to the Lydlinch area. The site lies on the Oxford Clays and can be very wet for most of the year.



Five miles west of Sturminster Newton.

Although privately owned, the site is crossed by two footpaths and the fenced-off common is covered by an Access Land agreement, which gives right of pedestrian access to the site, as displayed on the sign at the main access point by the lay-by at grid reference ST734133 on the A3030.

Owned by The Yeatman Estate