How to get involved surveying wildlife at Golden Cap

Golden Cap on the Dorset coast is a unique place, and home to some very special wildlife. Volunteer ecologist John Newbould helps us make sure these species thrive.

Golden Cap in Dorset is the highest point on the south coast and England’s only natural World Heritage Site. It’s a haven for wildlife including fungi, birds, reptiles, wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies and more.

Dedicated volunteer John Newbould has been keeping an eye on the health of nature in the area for over a decade. He records the ecology of the estate and it allows us to keep track of its health. This year, all this data and other records are being compiled into a full biosurvey for the site. 

John Newbould is a volunteer ecologist for our West Dorset places
Volunteer Ecologist John Newbould sitting on a wooden bench at Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock
John Newbould is a volunteer ecologist for our West Dorset places

Already we’ve spotted the impacts of long-term changes. The signs of long-term agricultural improvement in the cliff top grasslands are evident, with changes to the wildflowers and insects in the meadows and pastures. Under National Trust management, improvements in the condition of grasslands have been seen in recent years.

This incredibly valuable insight into the state of the species on the estate allows for the team to determine how they're going to manage the area. 

How to get involved at Golden Cap and further afield

There’s a whole range of ways to play a part in this work. Next time you’re walking on the Golden Cap estate make a note of what you’ve seen and let us know.

You can also keep an eye on the Golden Cap website for an organised event to get involved with.

Alternatively, use our volunteer search to find an opportunity near you, or register your interest with your favourite place to let them know you’d like to help out.