The Green Today
The Meadow and Wood
A pleasant stroll of 1 kilometre (0.7 miles) takes approximately 30-40 minutes. A steady climb from the south or town side is followed by undulating paths either through the woodland or across the meadow, which is accessed by kissing gates. The northern path up the hill from Coneygar Park Lane is steeper.
Sturdy footwear is recommended and care should be taken to avoid holes created by badgers and other mammals. The meadow is managed by seasonal summer grazing of a small herd of cattle.
The hillside is predominantly broadleaf deciduous woodland and includes Beech and Sycamore, many of which are self-seeded. There are also Ash, Maple and Oak, while on the eastern side there are occasional Hornbeam and Lime trees. On the West there are a number of mature pines, which are particularly conspicuous during the winter.
Standing in the field is the Millennium Green’s most famous tree: the Lucombe Oak is a cross between a Turkey Oak and Cork Oak. It was first propagated by an Exeter nurseryman around 1765. Early propagation was by cuttings and grafting and with a visible graft scar, this suggests that this specimen was planted when Downe Hall was built in the 1790s. In mild winters the tree is almost evergreen and retains its leaves for most of the year.
To the East of Mountfield stands an impressive Lime tree. From its size and trunk girth it too must be an early tree planted when the Hall was built.
Shrubs & Flowers in the Garden, Meadow & Wood
Very few shrubs grow among the woodland. On the west side of the hill holly can be found growing near the path. On the east side look out for Spotted Laurel and Portuguese Laurel, both very popular Victorian plants.
In the gardens, a wide range of shrubs can be found.
Plants in the Millenium Green Gardens include...
- Aralia, the Japanese Umbrella Tree or Japanese Angelica
- Ceanothus or Californian Lilac
- Cotinus coggygria, the Smoke Bush
- Hornbeam Hedges
- Magnolia Tree
- Viburnum tinus X bodnantense. Winter flowering and scented
- A range of bedding plants including Pelargoniums and Fuchsias Herbs including Lavender, Rosemary and Sage
Bluebells and wild garlic abound in the Spring on the Meadow and in the Wood.
A survey carried out by the Dorset Mammal Group in spring 2016 discovered a range of mammals on the hill. These included
- Badgers, which are believed to have one of the largest setts with multiple entrances particularly on the west of the hill.
- A fox with four cubs.
- Many grey squirrels.
- Numerous mouse tracks were recorded and local cats have caught both Wood Mice and Common Shrews as well as a Brown Long Eared Bat.
- Although Dormouse tubes were put out, they did not attract any animals.
- Roe Deer have been seen on the hill, although none were recorded during the survey.
In 2016 members of South Dorset RSPB undertook several walks on Coneygar Hill and identified many species of bird, including Red Kite which are rarely seen in West Dorset
See the list of birds here...
- Red Kite
- Carrion Crow
- Green Woodpecker
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Herring Gull
- Collared Dove
- House Martin
- Blue Tit
- Great Tit
- Coal Tit
- Long Tailed Tit
- Song Thrush
- Owls have also been heard calling in the night
Can you add to the List?
Let us know via the contact page.