After seven years exploring the nature reserves of Dorset I thought I had seen the best and the rest had little extra to offer. The Hog Cliff website did not indicate anything special and so visiting it had been left to the 'clearing up' process I have now reached, going to larger but unspectacular places. When I got there I was, frankly, amazed!
Hog Cliff can be found to the west of the Dorchester to Yeovil road approaching the top of Break Heart Hill. There are no signs, there is no car park, you cannot actually see the reserve from the road and you could drive along that stretch of road and never know Hog Cliff National Nature Reserve is there. When you eventually find it the size of the area covered is still not revealed until you descend a bridle way for about a quarter of a mile and when you look to your left there is a chalk escarpment that runs in a curve for as far as you can see. As you go through the gate and on to the reserve you are just overwhelmed by not only the number of flowers and extent of the chalk grassland but also by the diversity of species as well.
Thinking Hog Cliff would be a bit of a walk over I had already spent two hours at nearby Lankham Bottom and was in no state to tackle the full extent of Hog Cliff. My species list that I did get is probably only a fraction of what is there and my photographs do not do it justice. There is only one way to really appreciate Hog Cliff and that is to visit it and that is something I will have to do again soon but next time I will allow myself most of the day!