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Dunsdon National Nature Reserve leaflet

Key Information

Grid reference/Postcode
SS 302 080 / EX22 7JW

North west of Holsworthy


Culm grassland, scrub, mature woodland, semi improved and improved grassland (wild flower meadow).



This site is part of the Working Wetlands Project area, which is supported by a number of funders. For further information visit the Working Wetlands webpage.

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Dunsdon - a Coronation Meadow

On 5 June 2013 Dunsdon National Nature Reserve was named by HRH Prince Charles as a 'Coronation Meadow'.

The Coronation Meadows Initiative is Prince Charles' tribute to The Queen to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty's Coronation.
A Coronation Meadows Partnership which includes The Wildlife Trusts, Plantlife and The Rare Breeds Trust has identified 60 Coronation Meadows in 60 counties as Coronation Meadows. 83% of these sites, including Dunsdon, can trace an undisturbed history back to before the Coronation and beyond. Each Coronation Meadow will be used as a ‘donor’ site; green hay and seed will be collected and used to restore existing and create new meadows at ‘receptor’ sites within the same county, thus realising His Royal Highness’ vision to preserve the magical local character of our meadows.

For more information on Coronation Meadows, click here

Dunsdon offers a snapshot of the past showing how the region once appeared - rich in rare and spectacular wildlife.

What to see

  • Marsh-fritillary butterflies (May-June)
  • Heath spotted, southern marsh and lesser-butterfly orchids
  • Barn owl
  • Marsh thistle
  • Devils-bit scabious (Sept-Nov)

Dunsdon National Nature Reserve near Holsworthy is one of the best examples - and last survivors - of Culm grassland in the county.  Culm is a marshy, heathy vegetation that occurs over the slates and shales of the Culm Measures in north western Devon.  Dunsdon's uncultivated meadows offer a habitat in which wildlife - in particular butterflies - thrive, including the rare marsh frittilary butterfly whose presence is a good indicator of healthy Culm grassland.  Orchids show their colourful heads through the grasses - visit in early summer to witness the best of Dunsdon's offerings.

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