Walton and Ivythorn Hills
|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Area of Search||Somerset|
|Area||34.9 hectares (0.349 km2; 0.135 sq mi)|
|Natural England website|
Walton and Ivythorn Hills (grid reference ST475346) is a 34.9 hectare (86.1 acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest near Street at the south-eastern end of the Polden Hills in Somerset, notified in 1953. Walton Hill is south of the village of Walton, and Ivythorn Hill (sometimes spelled Ivy Thorn Hill) is south of Street.
This site is owned and managed by the National Trust. They acquired 0.248 hours (0.89 ks) of Ivythorn Hill in 1988, which followed 16.606 hectares (41.03 acres) of Walton Hill in 1940 and the initial 18.751 hectares (46.33 acres) of Ivythorn Hill and Wood in 1919.
Walton and Ivythorn Hills support a complex mosaic of semi-natural habitats which includes unimproved calcareous grassland, dense and scattered scrub and broadleaved woodland. Structural diversity within the habitats, together with the extensive areas of sheltered wood-edge and scrub-edge margins provide ideal conditions for many species of invertebrate. Butterflies, Leafhoppers, Spiders and Soldier Flies are particularly well represented. The Great Green Bush Cricket (Tettigonia viridissima) is also of interest.
There is some evidence of the remains of ancient earthworks on Walton Hill.
The shoe manufacturer C&J Clark, through the Society of Friends, had a small sanatorium and convalescent home on Ivythorn Hill overlooking Street. In 1931, this chalet style building was leased to the Youth Hostel Association and became the first youth hostel in Somerset. It is still used for this purpose.