Ashford Hill National Nature Reserve
ASHFORD HILL, HAMPSHIRE
Ashford Hill NNR consists of a series of low-lying meadows in the valley of a small stream. The meadows have been traditionally managed by grazing and hay-cutting with little, or no, use of fertilisers. Water violet and marsh stitchwort can be found in the permanently waterlogged areas of site, while drier sections support populations of dyer’s greenweed and large thyme. The woodlands support a rich and diverse fauna associated with the large clearings, wide grassy rides and the long margin with the meadows which provide nectar sources for woodland insects, which include 32 species of butterfly, one of which is the purple emperor. The wood hosts five species of fritillaries and is the only known north Hampshire site for the pearl-bordered fritillary, and the only remaining county site for the high brown fritillary. Its northern edge also harbours some rare spiders and beetles. Anthills created by the yellow meadow ant can be seen in drier areas of the reserve.
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About The area
Hampshire’s varied landscape of hills and heaths, downlands and forests, valleys and coast is without rival in southern England. Combine these varied landscapes and terrains with secluded and idyllic villages, complete with thatched and timber-framed cottages and Norman churches, elegant Georgian market towns, historic ports and cities, restored canals and ancient abbeys, forts and castles, and you have a county that is paradise for lovers of the great outdoors.
If you’re a walker, stride out across the high, rolling, chalk downland of the north Hampshire ‘highlands’ with far-reaching views, walk through steep, beech-clad ‘hangers’ close to the Sussex border. Or perhaps take a gentler stroll and meander along peaceful paths through unspoilt river valleys, etched by the sparkling trout streams of the Test, Itchen, Avon and Meon. Alternatively, wander across lonely salt marshes and beside fascinating coastal inlets or, perhaps, explore the beautiful medieval forest and heathland of the New Forest, the jewel in Hampshire’s crown.
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