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Things to do on the estate at Win Green

View over countryside Win Green hill on a winter day
Views from Win Green, Wiltshire | © National Trust Images/Clive Whitbourn

It's rewarding simply to explore Win Green on the South Wessex Downs with no fixed itinerary, making your own discoveries, but if you're someone who appreciates a few pointers of what to look out for, this top 10 list from Area Ranger Clive Whitbourn is for you.

Summer highlights at Win Green

Hunt for butterflies

In summer, these include the marbled white, adonis blue, chalkhill blue and green hairstreak. The blue butterflies have remarkably close relationships with the downland ants: as caterpillars they sing to the ants using low substrate sounds that mimic the ant as part of the caterpillars' parasitic approach.

The larvae and ants and live underground in anthills on the downland. You can see the anthills as bumps on the older patches of downland.

The sound of skylarks

This quintessential sound of the English countryside can be heard throughout the year, but particularly during the warmer months, as the birds ascend and hover over Win Green. See if you can also spot the corn bunting, meadow pipit, raven and red kite.

Hunt for waxcap mushrooms

Look out for waxcap fungi from late summer. These 'orchids' of the fungus world are easily seen from their bright red and yellow colours scattered among the grass.

Have a picnic

Spread out a blanket to lounge and eat and drink at leisure. Past picnickers might have included some of the ‘Bright Young Things’ of the Roaring ‘20s because a leading socialite of the time, Cecil Beaton, had his estate close by and spent much of his summer months socialising on the slopes.

Colourful kites in the sky at Win Green
Kite flying is a popular activity at Win Green, Wiltshire | © National Trust Images/Clive Whitbourn

More things to do at Win Green

360-degree views from the top

This is the highest point in Cranborne Chase, 911ft above sea level. Close to the beech clump, a topograph shows highlights of the surrounding countryside, from the nearby hilltop town of Shaftesbury to the Needles, more than 30 miles away on the Isle of Wight.

Explore the Ox Drove

Formed by drovers moving cattle over long distances, this is one of the longest and most ancient routes in the country. It links Axminster in Devon with Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, and is linked to the Wessex Ridgeway. It may also have been the route used to transport Portland stone to build Salisbury Cathedral.

Fly a kite

With plenty of high space, and usually a fine breeze blowing, the kite-flying conditions at Win Green are ideal.

Explore the beech clump

Whether you’re enjoying them artistically, in reminiscence of John Nash's painting Trees on a Hill, or playfully as a great spot for a game of hide-and-seek, the beeches are a real highlight.

Common spotted orchid wild flower at Whipsnade Down, Bedfordshire
Common spotted orchid at Win Green, Wiltshire | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Search for chalk downland wildflowers

These include the common spotted orchid, bee orchid and yellow rattle. Yellow rattle is crucial to this rare habitat as it is semi-parasitic on grass, so prevents the grasses from dominating and smothering wildflowers and herbs.

Just pause and reflect

The beauty of Win Green is that there is very little road noise, just the sound of birdsong and skylarks ascending above. Find an open spot, close your eyes, breathe, and simply let your mind wander.

Smiling child hugging a tree in the garden at Trerice, Cornwall

Discover more at Win Green

Find out how to get to Win Green, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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