The place to see Culm grassland wildflowers and butterflies
A precious landscape holds on in North West Devon
A classic introduction to one of Devon's best remaining Culm grasslands.
At Devon Wildlife Trust we're very proud of the work we've done over the past 30 years working to preserve the county's Culm grasslands. Wet and wild they may be, but their wildflower, insect and bird life make them a jewel in Devon's natural riches.
Dunsdon is probably the best known of our Culm reserves. While, from the 1960s onwards, Culm grasslands disappeared across North Devon, here at Dunsdon the fields of purple moor grass, orchids and butterflies were left unchanged.
Marsh fritillary. Photo: Chris Root
Today we continue the traditional management of years gone by - grazing with a few Devon Ruby cattle in summer and swaling (burning) areas in winter. Visit in May to August and the rewards are obvious - 189 species of flowering plant have been counted here including lesser butterfly orchids, petty whin and whorled caraway.
26 different kinds of butterfly have also been spotted, including the unofficial emblem of the Culm - the marsh fritillary.
By Royal appointment
In 2012, Dunsdon was named Devon's Coronation Meadow to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of HRH The Queen. Another recent development has been the purchase of neighbouring fields and the construction of hedgebanks and the planting of wildflowers in an attempt to allow Dunsdon's wildlife to spread.
Part of the old Bude Canal which forms the western edge of the reserve has also been recently restored and 're-wetted'. It's now a great place to spot dragonflies and amphibians.
You can begin to explore Dunsdon and the surrounding area using our Dunsdon Wild Walk.