Just a 15 minute drive from Old Red Lion House are the Fontmell and Melbury Downs which have open expanses of flowery downland and far-reaching views.
Ancient chalk grassland is now very rare. In the last 70 years an estimated 80% of Britain’s chalk grassland has been lost, but at Fontmell Down this internationally recognised expanse of unspolit grassland supports orchid species as well as a large number of other scarce wild flowers. The mosaic of grassland and scrub habitats on site provides an ideal home to the 35 recorded species of butterfly, and several notable species of bird, mammal, moth, fly, bug, moss and lichen!
There are a choice of walks here of varying distance and difficulty. Parking is available at the top of Spread Eagle Hill (see map here) and for those in need of sustenance, the cafe at Compton Abbas Airfield, just a moments drive (or short walk away) provides great food.