Discover butterflies on Mottistone Down

Grizzled skipper butterfly © Matthew Oates

Grizzled skipper butterfly

The chalkland of Mottistone Down is a special place for butterflies. Look out for blues, browns, greens and skippers.

Mottistone Down: a botanist's delight

View from Mottistone Down © John Faulkner

View from Mottistone Down

Acid-loving wildflowers abound on Mottistone Down, thriving in the chalky soil.

Mottistone Down: a place to listen

Skylark © Gareth Thomas FRPS


Come and listen to the birds singing. Spot a soaring buzzard and, perhaps, the elusive Dartford warbler.

The hornet robber fly on Mottistone Down

A cow pat - home for some! © National Trust

A cow pat - home for some!

Find out the fascinating dependence of the ‘giant’ hornet robber fly and cow pats on Mottistone Down.

Mottistone Common, restored heathland

Bronze Age long barrow on Mottistone Common © National Trust/Sue Oldham

Bronze Age long barrow on Mottistone Common

Not long ago Mottistone Common was covered in conifers. Find out where all the trees have gone and how things are now done differently to make this a special place for humans and wildlife.

Wildlife on Mottistone Common

The Dartford Warbler has recovered strongly since its severe decline © northeastwildlife.co.uk

The Dartford Warbler has recovered strongly since its severe decline

Look up and down, and get on your knees, if necessary, to spot birds, insects, butterflies and wildflowers on Mottistone Common.

Nightjars in Mottistone Common

An almost perfectly camoflauged nightjar, waiting for the evening © Michael Ridett

An almost perfectly camoflauged nightjar, waiting for the evening

Come and join us on a magical warm summer evening to hear nightjars churring over the heath. See as well as hear our regular summer visitors to Mottistone Common.

Wildlife around Mottistone village

Buildings don’t only give homes for people. Mottistone village has many other secretive residents, such as bats and red squirrels.

Farming on the Mottistone Estate

In the past labour was cheap, but how does a modern-day farmer manage to produce good-quality food and still encourage wildlife at the same time?

Encouraging wildlife at Mottistone

Bird numbers, especially farmland birds, have declined steeply over recent years. Find out how sympathetic farming can make a huge difference. 

Coastal erosion on the Mottistone Estate

Crumbling cliffs can provide a very precious habitat for wildlife

Crumbling cliffs can provide a very precious habitat for wildlife

In common with much of the southern part of the Isle of Wight, the effects of coastal erosion at Sudmoor on the seaward edge of the Mottistone Estate are clear for all to see.

We tend to think of this as a calamity, losing precious land and causing disruption to our favourite coastal walks. And yet the crumbling clay and sandstone cliffs can provide a wonderful dynamic habitat for wildlife.

If it were not for the cliffs constantly falling and slipping away, we would not have such a beautiful and dramatic coastline, or such amazing sandy beaches. Nor would this stretch of coast be one of the prime sites in the UK for fossils and in particular dinosaur bones.

The Glanville fritillary

Find out about a butterfly rare in the UK but found on the Mottistone Estate, because of our warm southerly climate and the crumbling cliffs.