ReservesDolebury Warren

Dolebury Warren

Grid ref: 455 590 / Area: 93 hectares

The spectacular views across North Somerset and the Mendips made Dolebury Warren the natural choice for an imposing Iron Age hill fort. Today a fascinating and unusual mixture of wildflowers carpets the grassy ramparts and hill slopes, attracting rare butterflies.

How to get there
We encourage visitors to use environmentally friendly forms of transport wherever possible. Most of our reserves are easily accessible by bicycle, with many close to the National Cycle Network. Click here to view a location map of the reserve on the National Cycle Network website.

Alternatively, follow the A38 southwards from Churchill village. Take first left turn after traffic lights into Dolebury Bottom. Please drive slowly along lane and park in small car park. Follow footpaths to summit. (There is an alternative car park on the north side of the reserve.)

Please keep dogs on leads - sheep are usually present on the hill. Some gravelled paths and steps, but strenuous in places. No suitable access for wheelchairs or pushchairs.

Wildlife and conservation
Small scabious, early purple orchid and eyebright flower in the limestone grassland which covers the summit and slopes. The unusual mixture of wildflowers thriving on patches of limestone heath makes this a nationally important site for wildlife. Here 'lime-loving' plants like rockrose flourish alongside such 'acid-loving' plants as bell heather. The acid-loving plants survive on small patches of acidic sand blown onto the site during the ice age.

On sunny days, you may spot many butterflies, including small blues and marbled whites. Late May to August is the best time to see wildflowers and butterflies, but the spectacular views and feeling of wildness can be enjoyed whatever the season. Anthills are very visible, and adders, badgers, foxes and rabbits are found here.

Since myxomatosis killed many rabbits, scrub has invaded the site, shading out grassland plants. The Trust is checking its spread by hand clearance and controlled sheep grazing from April to December.

Other points of interest
The visible remains of Dolebury's past include the imposing double ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort and a medieval rabbit warren.

Further information
Dolebury Warren is an SSSI. It is owned by the National Trust and managed by Avon Wildlife Trust.

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