Living on the edge
The wildlife that you will see at Burton Bradstock and Cogden is both adapted to and threatened by the wild coastal conditions. Salt burns the plants, while high winds permanently stunt trees and hedges. But migratory birds breed in the reedbeds and scrub along the shore and many fascinating plants thrive in these marginal places.
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Some wildlife highlights
Thrift, sea kale and bird's foot trefoil help to anchor the shifting shingle of Chesil beach. The organic pasture is home to several orchid species: you may spot pyramidal, butterfly and bee orchids on your walk through the farmland. Wild carrot grows in profusion along with the miniature yellow spikes of agrimony.
Yellow-wort inhabits the thinnest soils - look out for its curious grey-green leaves - and the SSSI areas are home to exceptional amounts of the very rare dyer's greenweed. Among the purple flowers of knapweed, don't miss the more delicate blooms of field scabious. And in patches of scrub, look out for stinking iris with its striking orange fruits through the winter.
Adam and Ellen Simon of Tamarisk Farm at West Bexington graze the pastures at Cogden with their herd of organic Red Devon cows. Also look out for interesting breeds of sheep, such as Jacob and Hebridean. You can buy the delicious beef, lamb and mutton at Tamarisk Farm Shop.
Bindbarrow hill at Hive Beach is grazed by Peter and Gill Mayo's organic cows and sheep. You can get your hands on this meat at Maydown Farm Shop in Burton Bradstock.
Please keep control of your dog and always give the livestock you meet plenty of space.
Volunteer Ecologist John Newbould will be producing regular newsletters about the wildlife at our Dorset coast and countryside sites.
They will include results from his wildlife surveys, details of our latest conservation work and upcoming events. Here's the first issue, for autumn 2014.