Dorset web button

autumn natural history

A relaxed exploration of Dorset’s beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, with a particular focus on some of the characteristic, charismatic invertebrates of the chalk downs and heathland.

We will be based near Corfe Castle in the heart of the Isle of Purbeck, the most biodiverse area of its size in the British Isles. The variety of habitats from bright heaths, and pine forests to chalk downland and stunning coastline, provides an idyllic setting to enjoy the county’s wildlife.

Purbeck is best known for its lowland heath, and we will spend our first morning exploring this wonderful habitat, on the look out for carnivorous plants and birds of prey, along with a suite of characteristic birds of the heathlands: Dartford Warbler, Stonechat and Woodlark. We will also pay attention to the notable invertebrates that make these heaths their home, including various late-season dragonflies, moths and bees.

Further along the coast, we will spend time exploring the other key habitat locally, the chalk downland which opens up in a series of gentle whaleback hills with spectacular views of Poole Harbour, Studland and the Isle of Wight. Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, w orld-famous for their geology, offer the perfect spot to explore.

We will spend a day around the Isle of Portland, an area famous for its migrating birds, where late-flying butterflies may be found in sheltered, sunny spots, and take a boat trip across Poole Harbour, to spend some time on Brownsea Island, home to one of southern England’s last populations of Red Squirrels.

Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.

Common Blue feeding on Greater Knapweed
Oblong-leaved Sundew, Dorset
Brown-banded Carder Bee feeding on a flower