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Iron Age hill fort and downland with views across the Marshwood Vale to the coast
A great place for walking, flying kites or simply taking in the extensive views of the surrounding countryside and the English Channel in the distance.
The hill fort itself is about 2,500 years old, but originally there were two Bronze Age burial mounds on the summit. It's also an old smuggling spot - in the 18th century, Isaac Gulliver took advantage of the hill's commanding position and created a small plantation of trees to act as a landmark for his ships and help guide them to the coast.
Note: We own the sourthern half of the fort; the northern half is privately owned.
Walking on the hill fort
The fantastic views and diverse wildlife can only be appreciated on a rewarding walk. Eggardon provides spectacular views of other West Dorset landmarks including Thorncombe Beacon and Golden Cap to the south-west and inland towards Lewesdon Hill, Pilsdon Pen and Lambert’s Castle.
Sea holly discovery
Our volunteer survey team made a rare discovery of a garden sea holly plant growing on the chalk grassland slopes. Standing 30cm high, it is much taller than the wild sea holly seen on the local shingle beaches. It was eventually identified as Eryngium bourgatii, a species which may not have been seen in the wild before in Dorset. The plant favours sunny dry places such as found on at Eggardon.
Eggardon is a haven for wildlife, from chalk grassland plants including orchids to seven species of butterfly. Want to know what to look out for on your visit? Check out this report on the wildlife we've recorded here on our most recent surveys.