Fontmell Down is a large site and probably needs more than one visit to do it justice. A mix of chalk downland, scrub and woodland it is particularly noted as one of the few sites in the county (country even) for chalkhill blue and silver-spotted skipper, both seen in August. There is a path that runs down from the car park on Spread Eagle Hill towards Compton Abbas and this path has the most wonderful wild flower verges with lots of insects to be seen. Most of the area is owned by the National Trust but the best part for nature is, naturally, owned and managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust.
The top of the the down gives wonderful views across the north of Dorset and are worth a visit alone but the wildlife and plants make it very special indeed. A must on a warm summer day but it can be pretty bleak in bad weather. There are some steep slopes too and only limited parking exists, see local information boards for details. Please do not let these few small negatives put you off visiting what is undoubtedly a top ten site in the whole of Dorset.