Top 10 things to see and do at Win Green

Ranger Clive Whitbourn resting on the grassy slope of Hambledon Hill with Rosie the collie dog

It's lovely to simply wander around Win Green with no fixed itinerary, making your own discoveries. But if you're someone who appreciates a few pointers of what to look out, this top ten list from Area Ranger Clive Whitbourn is for you.

Top 10 things to see and do at Win Green

Enjoy the spectacular 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 reveals 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.

Gaze across Wiltshire and Dorset from Win Green
Breathtaking views across Wiltshire from Win Green

Listen to the quintessential English sound of Skylarks throughout the year, particularly during spring and summer, as they ascend and hover over Win Green. See if you can also spot the Corn bunting, Meadow pipit, Raven and Red kite.

Explore the Ox Drove that passes by - it is one of the longest and most ancient routes in the country, linking Axminster in Devon with Ivinghoe Beacon in Buckinghamshire, and is linked to the Wessex Ridgeway. Formed by drovers moving cattle long distance, it may also have been the route used to transport Portland stone to build Salisbury Cathedral.

Looking down the ancient Oxdrove at Win Green
The Oxdrove at Win Green

Hunt for Waxcap mushrooms in late summer and autumn - these 'orchids' of the fungus world fruit in the autumn as bright red and yellow mushrooms scattered among the grass.

Look out for the eyecatching red Waxcap funghi as you explore
Interesting Waxcap funghi found at Win Green

Pack a picnic, as simple or extravagant as you'd like, and spread a blanket out to lounge at leisure. Past picnickers might have included some of the Bright Young Things of the roaring 1920s as Cecil Beaton, a leading socialite of the time, had his estate close by.

Explore the beech clump - artistically in its reminiscence of John Nash's painting 'Trees on a Hill', or playfully as a great spot for a game of hide and seek.

Spectacular sight of the barrow at Win Green
View of the barrow atop Win Green

Fly a kite, there is plenty of space, and usually a fine breeze blowing.

Search for chalk downland wildflowers, including Common spotted orchid, Bee orchid and Yellow rattle. Yellow rattle is crucial to this rare habitat; it is semi-parasitic on grass, so prevents the grasses from dominating and smothering wild flowers and herbs.

Hunt for butterflies in summer, including the Marbled white, Dark green fritillary, 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 and live underground in ant hills (these ant hills are visible as small bumps on the older patches of downland).

Adonis Blue butterfly
Adonis Blue butterfly

Just pause. Find a good spot, close your eyes, breathe, and let your mind wander.