Walking

Walking trail

Hod Hill butterfly walk

Walking trail

An easy walk around half of a hilltop Iron Age hill fort, after either a steep slope ascent or a longer ascent up a gentler slope.

A marsh fritillary butterfly close up

Map

Map route for Hod Hill butterfly walk

Start:

National Trust car park, grid ref: ST854113

1

From the National Trust car park, bear left up a steep hill and through a bridle gate, keeping close to the wood edge on your right. Look out for speckled woods in late summer.

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2

Cross the stile onto Hod Hill. Immediately before the main track turns up towards the hill fort entrance, take the grassy track to your right, along the crest of the lower rampart, above the wood edge. Butterflies congregate in the bays cut in the scrub on your right, feeding in high summer on hemp agrimony flowers.

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3

At the bottom, turn left along the main rampart ditch bottom, which opens out onto a section of short turf bank. The triangular area downslope is a good general area for butterflies.

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4

Carry on along the ditch bottom, past the entrance to the hill fort. The short turf is dominated by dwarf sedge (Carex humilis), with much bird's-foot trefoil, common rockrose and horseshoe vetch.

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5

At the corner, turn into the hill fort entrance and bear immediate left, to head back along the foot of the inner rampart slope. The sheltered pits (borrow pits) are good for butterflies on windy days and in late summer. The grassy dome on your right was largely ploughed up in the Second World War. It's good for orchids, meadow pipit and skylark.

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6

Back at the south-west corner, though this time just inside the hill fort, turn right to head north below the crest of the western ramparts, to the Roman fort fortifications. Turn right to follow this broad bank of short turf over old workings east, and then north until you reach the inner slope of the northern ramparts. Turn left, and you'll arrive back where you entered the hill fort.

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End:

National Trust car park, grid ref: ST854113

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Hod Hill butterfly walk

Terrain

Easiest approach involves one steep slope, alternative approach is gentler but longer. Site itself is level but uneven with little mud.

Dogs welcome, but cattle are on the hill in summer and sheep in winter.

Hod Hill butterfly walk

Contact us

Hod Hill butterfly walk

How to get here

Address
Hod Hill, Stourpaine, Dorset
By road

Either park in small National Trust car park off Hanford Lane, off A350 1 mile (1.6km) north of Stourpaine and ascend short steep slope, or park in Coach Road or Manor Road in Stourpaine and take longer, more gentler route up bridleway.

By foot

Walk from nearby villages of Stourpaine, Shillingstone and Shild Okeford. Directions same as 'by road'.

By bus

Service 83, 30 and 314, Blandford to Shaftesbury, alight Stourpaine; service 7, X8, 309, 310, 317, 323, 330, 368, Blandford to Sturminster Newton, alight Durweston.

By bicycle

Hod Hill is adjacent to the North Dorset Trailway (National Cycle Network 25) and can be accessed from Stourpaine.

Hod Hill butterfly walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome
  • Car parks: Hanford Lane: OS ST853112, Stourpaine village: OS ST860095