Sunnyside Farm

A redundant farm now part of the Stoborough Heath National Nature Reserve


I originally included my records for Sunnyside Farm in with those for Stoborough Heath as together they form a National Nature Reserve but recently a scrape has been created to encourage wildfowl and waders to the site in winter and so the farm is now worthy of an entry of its own! It will take a while to sort out and move the Sunnyside records across but I have made a start ...

The farm does not appear to have ever been cultivated and has presumably always been grazing pasture; it appears the meadows have never been subject to 'improvement' for grazing.  As a result the meadows are a picture in summer with the yellow of a range of acid grassland flowers. Some of the meadows are damp in places which adds to the variety. 

The only information I can find about Sunnyside is a short note in the Stoborough Heath information leaflet which says "Stoborough Heath also includes the 67 hectare Sunnyside Farm, which is home to rare plants including marsh orchids, smooth cat’s ear and brown-beak sedge." I have found the orchids, including the scarce early marsh orchid but the smooth cat's ear and the brown beak sedge have always eluded me.

The meadows are split either side of the old tramway and I have included records from here in those for Sunnyside from the car park as far as the first gate. The tramway has wonderful hedgerow scrub either side and is a good site for wild flowers and insects, especially butterflies although there are no rarities here.

Visit Sunnyside in May and June for the flowers, July for insects along the tramway and in winter for birds on the scrape.

Site Name Sunnyside Farm
Protection National Nature Reserve
Average: 3 (1 vote)
Diversity Average
Map Reference ST938863
County Dorset
Sites Photos

My photos really do not do the meadows justice!

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The scrape is a new feature and is beginning to be used by birds in winter

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A mixed group of horses graze the fields as well as nearby Stoborough Heath

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The grazing meadows are yellow with wild flowers in mid summer

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My records include those from the old tramway from the car park to the first gate

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Leave the tramway when you see this sign to get to the viewing screen over the new scrape

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Site Diary
Diary Date Notes

A breezy afternoon but sunny so off to Sunnyside!

  • Everywhere is so dry and most of the flora is now over
  • Another new site for marbled white
  • Just new species recorded as we visited quite recently

Big change in the weather to overcast, humid and windy

  • Surprising amount of yellow bartsia scattered in the meadows
  • a single flax plant, presumably a remnant of a previous crop here?
  • Otherwise the meadows full of more common flowers and grasses

There is no information about this visit