Natural England - Hambledon Hill NNR

Hambledon Hill NNR

Hambledon Hill NNR is an area of dramatic chalk grassland that rises steeply between the Stour and Iwerne valleys.

Hambledon Hill NNR

County: Dorset

Main habitats: Lowland grassland

Area: 73 ha

The hilltop is encircled by an Iron Age earthwork and there are extensive and complex Neolithic features, making it a site of major archaeological importance.

The grassland provides the main wildlife interest at the site but there are also areas of mixed scrub and a small yew wood.

The reserve's thin infertile soils provide ideal conditions for a variety of fine grasses, sedges and flowering plants, particularly on the steep south and west facing slopes. Common plants found here include milkwort, salad burnet, horseshoe vetch, squinancywort, pyramidal orchid and wild thyme. Rarer species include bastard toadflax, meadow saxifrage, early gentian and dwarf sedge.

Local butterflies include dingy skipper, grizzled skipper, chalkhill blue and adonis blue.

Location and access

The reserve is 15 km south of Gillingham and 7 km north of Blandford Forum, between (and almost immediately adjacent to) the villages of Child Okeford and Iwerne Courtney.

By car, access to the reserve is via minor roads from the A357 and A350. There is a car park on the minor road from Child Okeford immediately to the south of the reserve.

The nearest train station is in Gillinghamexternal link. Regular bus services run along the A350 from Gillingham to Blandford Forum, within 2 km of the reserve. There are less frequent services from Gillingham to Child Okeford. For details see Transport Directexternal link.

Two major trails cross the reserve, the Stour Valley Wayexternal link and the Wessex Ridgewayexternal link. Child Okeford is on Route 25 of the Sustransexternal link National Cycle Network.


The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local towns and villages.

Visitor informationexternal link and natural history information: (1.5mb)pdf document leaflets are available.