North Solent National Nature Reserve
BUCKLERS HARD, HAMPSHIRE
North Solent NNR in the New Forest National Park is one of the larger nature reserves in Hampshire, covering 820 hectares. It consists of heathland, valley mires and ancient oak woodlands which meet coastal habitats along the Beaulieu river estuary. The coastal grazing marsh, associated coastal habitats and heathlands are a great place to see some of our country’s rarest bird species, as well as visiting migrants and a variety of raptors. In spring, breeding lapwing can be seen tumbling over the grassland, and avocets are marking out their territories. Other not-so-conspicuous species include redshank, skylark and a host of warblers, all bringing their individual songs to the reserve. Throughout summer and autumn there is an opportunity to see dragonflies and butterflies such as the pearl-bordered fritillary. As winter approaches, bird numbers are on the rise and the reserve comes alive with grazing and foraging waders and wildfowl. Flocks of Brent geese, widgeon and teal occupy the coastal fringes and grasslands, along with some more unusual visitors that may drop in to roost and feed.
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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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