Melbury Park IPA
Location: About a mile north of Evershot in Dorset, west of the A37 between Yeovil and Dorchester.
Grid Reference: ST 572 058
Melbury Park is situated in rural West Dorset close to the village of Melbury Osmond. It has been owned and managed by sixteen generations of the Strangways family since 1500. The parkland was landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown. There is a varied topography with the presence of small streams feeding artificial lakes and ponds. This habitat combined with long established park woodland, make the area one of the richest locations for epiphytic lichens in Europe. More than 250 species of lichens, including over 200 epiphytes, have been recorded at the park.
The park was probably enclosed as a deer park in the late 15th century and is a surviving fragment of the Forest of Blackmoor. Many exotic and ornamental trees have been planted but there are also large open semi-natural woodlands containing extremely large and old trees. Oak trees are the dominant species with ash and beech also present. Alder, willow and birch are found in wetter areas.
The majority of the lichen communities are associated with the acid bark of oak trees. The most luxuriant and widespread community of the lichen Lobarion pulmonariae to be found in lowland England is in the west of the deer park.Many rare lichen species can also be found at this location.Communities of lichens typical of enriched bark can be found in other areas.These are well developed on elm trees and largely found in the south-east of the park.