The Rough Nature Reserve, Devon

★★★★

The view east
Lesser skullcap

Rough, steeply-sloping, sometimes boggy grassland on the eastern side of Dumpdon Hill, with a good variety of wildflowers
Location
Dumpdon Lane, 3 miles north of Honiton; EX14 4TP
The Rough Nature Reserve is a small site within the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, 3 miles north of Honiton - ten acres of sloping, damp, and sometimes boggy grassland along the east face of Dumpdon Hill, the top of which (site of an Iron Age hillfort) is owned by the National Trust. The reserve contains a reasonable variety of wildflowers, sedges and grasses, though no species is particularly rare, while up to 17 types of butterfly can be seen in summer, together with the occasional deer, badger and spotted woodpecker. The views are quite good, across the valley of the River Otter to the east, though this is not a site to spend much time at - about half an hour is enough to walk around the field, which is periodically grazed by cattle. The best months for wildflowers are April to July.

A narrow country road, Dumpdon Lane, leads to the reserve, branching off the A30 and climbing through a patch of woodland. Parking is either in front of a gate at the entrance, or 200 feet north at a larger area, used by visitors to the adjacent National Trust property. A faint path crosses the grassland, leading to a patch of trees on the far side, also part of the reserve. Several tiny, overgrown drainages flow down the slopes, home to a slightly different set of plants. Species found here include common spotted orchid, common centaury, square-stalked St John's-wort, lesser skullcap, betony, common fleabane and corn mint.